Boeheim never strayed far from home
by Jeff DiVeronica, USA TODAY Sports
Jim Boeheim always had choices.
Coming out of Lyons High School in Wayne County, N.Y., the skinny 6-foot-3 guard who’d led his small school to wins over some of the city’s best teams in Rochester was offered a scholarship to Colgate University and considered the University of Rochester. Following a better-than-anyone-thought-it’d-be college career, he flirted with playing professional basketball.
After 10 years of building the Orangemen into a perennial 20-game winner, Ohio State came up for an interview in 1986. And there was often talk that his coaching style — giving talented stars plenty of freedom to play — would one day make him a good NBA coach.
But Jim Boeheim’s choice has always been the same: Syracuse University.
“You make a few choices in life,” Boeheim said a few days ago from his office before practice. “And that was a good one for me.”
He showed up on campus in 1962 as a walk-on player (read: no scholarship) for a program that had won just 14 games in the three seasons prior, and 50 years later his Syracuse team won the 900th game in Boeheim’s 37 seasons as its head coach. James Arthur Boeheim became the third coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history to reach 900 victories on Monday.
His record is 900-304 after Monday’s win over Detroit. He trails only Bob Knight (902), who is retired, and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (936). Boeheim’s 34 seasons of winning at least 20 games are the most in history.
“I’ve always liked it here. I don’t like change that much,” said Boeheim, a Hall-of-Fame coach whose crowning moment was winning the 2003 national championship and quieted many critics who said that his teams could never win the big game. “I just always thought I had a good job and I didn’t see any place that was a better fit for me. I really never contemplated leaving — ever — at any time.”
“I’m happy I’ve been here this long,” Boeheim said after Saturday night’s 85-61 win over Canisius. “When I was 17 years old I almost went home.”
His family started in … [For more on Syracuse's Boeheim never strayed far from home, click here.]