In case you missed it, John Gasaway wrote a piece a few weeks back stating how the Syracuse Orange basketball program was at a crossroads. John later opined on that piece, and the comment section generated some interesting discussion, viz., is the Syracuse (basketball) head coaching position a destination job? The staff took a stab at it.
Syracuse is definitely a destination job – to a point. Syracuse has developed into one of the most prestigious basketball schools in the country, and most college basketball coaches would love the opportunity to coach at SU. However, Syracuse will never be able to elevate itself into the elite tier of coaching destinations, such as Duke, North Carolina or Kentucky. For one, it doesn’t have the same recruiting pull as those schools. Secondly, Syracuse doesn’t pay its coaches close the amount of money Duke, North Carolina or Kentucky does – Boeheim has been considerably underpaid for the vast majority of his career. And lastly, the weather sucks. While this may not seem like much, potential coaches would definitely take it into consideration seeing as how if Syracuse is a destination job, they would be planning to spend a large portion of their lives here.
It’s my belief that Syracuse is a destination job, and you can thank Jim Boeheim for that. He’s made this program what it is, and that’s a nationally recognized program that is respected by the blue bloods of college basketball. Not only with recruiting hotbeds only a drive away — New York City, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Canada, some schools in Pennsylavania, among others — you also have an arena that can hold over 35,000, an average crowd of low-to-mid 20,000s and facilities that compete with the best of ‘em. Syracuse is a destination job. It’s not Kentucky or Duke or North Carolina or Kansas — but when this job opens up, there will be plenty of coaches that will show interest.
I think Syracuse is a destination job. Syracuse is undoubtedly a top 20 basketball program nationally, the #BRAND is as strong as ever — plus basketball still ranks fifth in all-time victories (adding back 101). To reiterate, it won’t ever be a tier-1 type program, but it isn’t far off either. If Keith Smart misses a jumper in 1987, Boeheim and Bob Knight each have two titles. Boeheim is a top college coach (if he isn’t already) if that happens and Syracuse is a top 10 program, hands down. But nonetheless, Syracuse is still a destination job in my view. I view it as a tier-2 type of program with the tier-1s being Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Indiana and UCLA. Syracuse is akin to a Michigan State. When the time comes for JB to step away, there will be plenty of talent interested in the job even if Syracuse underpays.
What do you guys think? Destination job? Who would you like to see take the reigns once Boeheim finally does step away? Will Boeheim actually ever step away?
Aside: as always guys, thank you for creating interesting discussion in the comments. We frequently pay attention to what you guys have to say and it helps generate conversation, so keep the comments coming.