Bewildering to none, Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim alluded to the reality that he’d be sticking around in Syracuse for at least five more seasons on Friday. This comes to no surprise given Buddy Boeheim’s commitment to play for the Orange in 2018.
Adam Zagoria caught up with the Hall-of-Famer in Montclair, New Jersey, this weekend as Jim continues his trek on the recruiting trail.
“I’m not leaving my son there,” Jim said. Zagoria mentioned that that would mean sticking around five more years, only for Jim to respond with a wry grin, “He might redshirt, too.”
Should the redshirt hold true, that would mean that Jim would step away after the 2022-23 season. That would make him 78 years young, good for the title of oldest Division I men’s basketball coach in history. But it might not take that long for him to claim that title.
Few coaches have ever made it into their 70s and continued coaching as Mark Titus at the ringer points out. Bob Knight stepped away at age 67, Jim Calhoun retired at 69 (nice) and Steve Fischer just retired at age 72. Phog Allen, Adolph Rupp, Eddie Sutton and Jerry Tarkanian all retired before 73. Lou Henson retired just after he turned 73 and John Chaney was the oldest to ever coach division I at age 74.
Few active coaches might hit that benchmark, but those who come to mind are Cliff Ellis (71), Mike Krzyzewski (70), Leonard Hamilton (69, nice), Fran Dunphy (68), Roy Williams (67), Jim Larranaga (67) Tubby Smith (66), Rick Pitino (64) and Tom Izzo (62).
Jim will turn 73 in November and shows no signs of slowing down — this is mostly great for Syracuse basketball. The further the program is able to put the sanctions in rearview, the better. Having Boeheim locked in for at least five more years benefits the players and it’s already paid dividends in recruiting. The sky hasn’t fallen on Syracuse basketball, it’s just shifted. And after all, you’re going to miss Jim when it’s all said and done.
There can only be one possible downside to all of this (don’t at me).
This is somewhat disappointing solely for the fact that reporters can no longer ask Jim when he plans to retire after every NCAA Tournament loss.
While I’m not clairvoyant and to prognosticate the future is certainly a trying task, I can say for certain that it’ll be intriguing to watch Jim not come to grips with his mortality in an attempt to live and to coach at Syracuse for eternity. I’m not sure how he’s going to do it but I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat with bated breath, eagerly watching it all unfold.
Cheers to at least five more years of epic post-game pressers and hopefully at least one more Final Four run and Nation Title.