Jim Boeheim’s 47-year coaching career at Syracuse comes to an end

by Jacob Fuller

Rob Issa, FISM News

Jim Boeheim’s storied 47-year tenure as head coach at Syracuse University is over.

The school announced Wednesday that the Hall of Fame coach will not return next season and assistant Adrian Autry will replace him as head coach.

The 78-year-old Boeheim had hinted at retirement but let Syracuse make the decision less than three hours after the team lost to Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

“There is no doubt in my mind that without Jim Boeheim, Syracuse basketball would not be the powerhouse program it is today,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement.

Jim has invested and dedicated the majority of his life to building this program, cultivating generations of student-athletes, and representing his alma mater with pride and distinction. I extend my deep appreciation and gratitude to an alumnus who epitomizes what it means to be ‘Forever Orange.’


Boeheim played at Syracuse until 1966, began coaching there three years later, and became the head coach in 1976. He won 1,015 games, second only to retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Boeheim led Syracuse to the NCAA tournament 35 times and advanced to the Final Four in five of those trips, including three title game appearances, with one national championship in 2003.

“I’ve been very lucky to be able to coach my college team, to play and then be an assistant coach and then a head coach, never having to leave Syracuse,” Boeheim said Wednesday. “It’s a great university. The city has embraced our team. I am amazed that we’ve been able to draw the fans that we’ve been able to draw over the years. I’ve been just unbelievably fortunate to keep this job. … I’ve had 47 years. I got to coach my sons. Two years ago, we were in the Sweet 16.”

Boeheim became the face of the university. The court at the dome where Syracuse plays its home games was named after him in 2002. He overcame a battle with prostate cancer in 2001 and returned to work sooner than doctors wanted him.

“There is no person more synonymous with Syracuse men’s basketball than legendary head coach Jim Boeheim,” ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips said. “We thank and applaud Jim for all he has done for the ACC and college basketball, and we wish him, Juli, and their entire family all the best as he enters his next chapter.”


Boeheim isn’t sure what that next chapter will entail.

“The university hasn’t offered me anything, whether to work or do anything at the university. That’s their choice,” he said.

Autry, who joined Boeheim’s staff in 2011, has been associate head coach since March 2017. He played in 121 games in his four seasons before spending more than a decade on the bench with Boeheim.

“There have been very few stronger influential forces in my life than Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim,” Autry said.

They have both played such important roles and without either of them, I am certain I would not have this incredible opportunity before me. I have spent much of my time in the game of basketball learning from Jim and am so grateful to him for preparing me to carry on the winning tradition that is Orange Basketball.

Syracuse was 17-15 this season and the Orange will miss the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season.

Boeheim’s final game ended with Wake Forest guard Daivien Williamson making a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds to give the Demon Deacons a 77-74 victory.

“I’ve been just so lucky to be able to coach at Syracuse, a place I love, I place I love to live,” Boeheim said. “People keep wondering about that, but maybe that’s a flaw I have. But I’ve lived in Syracuse my whole life, and I’ll live there hopefully a long time into the future. I think it’s a great place.”