Boeheim bids Syracuse farewell at Autry’s introduction

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse formally introduced new men’s basketball coach Adrian Autry on Friday, but it turned into more of a celebration of Jim Boeheim, the Hall of Fame coach Autry is succeeding.

The practice facility was packed with Syracuse officials and coaches, current and former players, and Otto the Orange, the mascot.

All of them were there to watch the passing of the torch from the 78-year-old Boeheim, who led the program for 47 years and turned it into a national brand, to Autry, who played for Boeheim from 1990-94, became an assistant coach prior to the 2011-12 season and promoted to associate head coach in March 2017.

Autry told the crowd he was committed to the “Orange standard” Boeheim had built, “the history of winning, the history of playing hard and competing for championships.” He added that decisions were yet to be made on his coaching staff, but noted that his teams would be “versatile” on defense as opposed to sticking 100% with Boeheim’s legendary 2-3 zone.

But when Boeheim walked onto the gym’s floor – accompanied by his wife Juli and daughter Jamie – it became apparent this was his day. Boeheim coached his final game Wednesday, a 77-74 buzzer-beater loss to Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Director of Athletics John Wildhack reviewed Boeheim’s myriad accomplishments, numbers he called “extraordinary” – “35 NCAA Tournament appearances, five Final Fours, 2003 national championship, 20 Sweet 16 appearances … enshrinement in the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2005.”

Wildhack then introduced Boeheim, who received a 20-second standing ovation and spoke for 11 minutes, interspersing his comments with humor, characteristic defiance and uncharacteristic emotion. Boeheim also got in another shot at the media: “The only reason I got a standing ovation from the press is because they’re standing.”

After coaching sons Buddy and Jimmy in the 2021-2022 season, Boeheim said he wanted one more year and that Wildhack and Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud agreed.

“Obviously, when we hit that stretch where I didn’t coach very good and we didn’t play very good (four straight losses by more than 17 points), I felt this was the time,” Boeheim said.

He said he spoke to Wildhack a week ago to put the wheels in motion for retirement, adding that while there was a plan in place, the details hadn’t been finalized until Thursday. That lack of clarity led to awkward events Wednesday, when Boeheim engaged in a back-and-forth postgame news conference about his future.

Two hours later, the university issued a news release saying that Autry was taking over. The word “retirement” wasn’t used and there was no quote from Boeheim.

“We hadn’t had a chance to meet, me, John and the chancellor,” Boeheim said, noting there’s no friction between him and the administration. “People took that, like they always do, as me not talking or the university not (talking).”

Wildhack concurred Friday, saying: “There are twists and turns to ultimately where you want to get to but we got to the right ending. Coach Boeheim is with us. Coach Autry is the next coach. We executed the plan.”

During Friday’s speech, Boeheim thanked his coaches and players, his family – including his two sons for one of his “most rewarding seasons ever” – and fans who braved upstate New York winters to come to the Carrier Dome in record numbers: “Zero degrees. Minus-10 wind chill. Six feet of snow on the ground. That’s what Syracuse basketball is. It’s not me. It’s not Adrian. It’s the fans. They made our program.”

Boeheim also finally uttered the “r” word many thought they’d never hear: “I’m thrilled to be retired. I’ve felt the best the last two days that I’ve felt in 47 years.”

He also gave an enthusiastic show of support to Autry, whom he’s known since Autry was 16, calling him “a great coach.”

“I think someone said that Adrian should get an older mentor to help him coach,” Boeheim said. “Adrian Autry does not need an older mentor to help him coach. He can coach. He knows how to coach. The program is in good hands.”

Boeheim said he will have a yet-undefined role with the school that he attended as an undergrad – “I wouldn’t know what else to do anyway,” he joked.

“When I picked Syracuse University as a place I wanted to live a long time ago, (coach and friend) Rick Pitino and our wives picked Paris, Bermuda, and California. I picked Syracuse. They all walked away. Guess what? I’m still here. Thank you.”

And he left, to one last standing ovation.

Jim Boeheim’s long career at Syracuse ends, Autry takes over

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Jim Boeheim enrolled at Syracuse in 1962. Played there until 1966. Started coaching there in 1969. Took over the program as head coach in 1976.

Put simply, he was Syracuse basketball.

Until now.

The Basketball Hall of Famer’s 47-year tenure as coach at Syracuse came to an awkward end on Wednesday, with the university saying Orange associate head coach and former Syracuse player Adrian Autry has been promoted to the job. The Orange moved quickly, making the announcement less than three hours after Syracuse lost to Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. And if Boeheim knew the announcement was coming, he didn’t let on at what was his final postgame news conference.

“It’s up to the university,” Boeheim said. “They have to make their decision, and it’s up to them.”

The university didn’t wait long before making the decision public, saying in part: “Today, as his 47th season coaching his alma mater comes to an end, so too does his storied career at Syracuse University. Associate Head Coach Adrian Autry ’94, one of Boeheim’s former players and longtime assistant, has been named the program’s next head coach.”

Autry has been on Boeheim’s staff since 2011, and held the title of associate head coach since March 2017.

“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.”

The 78-year-old Boeheim’s record in his 47 seasons, officially, was 1,015-441. That reflects 101 wins taken away by the NCAA for violations between the 2004-07 and 2010-12 seasons.

Whether the count was 1,015 or 1,116, only now-retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had more wins than Boeheim at the Division I level. Boeheim led the Orange to the 2003 national title – Carmelo Anthony’s lone season in Syracuse – and saw 46 of his players get taken in NBA drafts. Among them: Anthony, Derrick Coleman, Rony Seikaly, Dion Waiters, Billy Owens, Sherman Douglas and Pearl Washington. Boeheim also was a USA Basketball assistant under Krzyzewski on the teams that won Olympic gold medals in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

“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 in that postgame news conference, one in which he hinted at retirement, then hinted at returning. “It’s a great university.”

He has, in many ways, been the face of that university. Boeheim and his wife Juli, through their family foundation, have raised millions for children’s causes across Central New York. He helped champion what became known as the “Coaches vs. Cancer” phenomenon with the American Cancer Society.

The 2-3 zone defense he used almost exclusively caused opponents fits for decades. His dedication was unwavering; the best examples were how he returned to work earlier than doctors wanted after he was treated for prostate cancer in December 2001 – the team was struggling and needed him, Boeheim said at the time – and how he went to work at 12:01 a.m. on the day his nine-game suspension for NCAA violations was lifted during the 2015-16 season.

“He’s given his heart and soul to that school,” said Washington coach Mike Hopkins, a former Boeheim assistant. “Still surprised they don’t have a statue made of him in the middle of campus. When you think of Syracuse University, you think of Jim Boeheim and you think of the Carrier Dome, and now both of those will be gone, which is very sad.”

The dome still stands, just with a different name. The program will continue, just with a different coach. For the first time since 1976, someone other than Boeheim is now the head coach of the Orange.

“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,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement distributed by the school.

Boeheim has been synonymous with Syracuse for more than six decades. He was born in the central New York town of Lyons, not far from Syracuse. He enrolled at the school in 1962 as a walk-on, eventually becoming a captain of the then-Orangemen along with Dave Bing.

In 1969, he was hired at Syracuse as a graduate assistant. And on April 3, 1976, he took the program over after Roy Danforth left for Tulane. Boeheim has led the program since; even the court at the dome where Syracuse plays its home games has bore his name since 2002.

“There will never be another Jim Boeheim,” Buddy Boeheim, one of Boeheim’s sons who played for him at Syracuse, tweeted Wednesday. “The greatest coach, father, and mentor I could ever ask for. A man that gave a city, program, and university everything he had his whole life with countless accomplishments. Excited for a lot of golf in our future, love you pops.”

The Orange were 17-15 this season and will miss the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season. That led to criticism, which led to questions about Boeheim’s future, and what the school would ultimately decide.

“It’s an honor to play for Coach Boeheim,” Syracuse’s Benny Williams said after the loss to Wake Forest.

A low point came in November 2011. Bernie Fine, then Syracuse’s associate head coach, was fired after being accused of sexual abuse by two former Syracuse ballboys. Boeheim initially called the ballboys liars out to get money, then apologized for being insensitive to victims of abuse and took responsibility. Fine was never charged.

Syracuse reached the NCAA Tournament 35 times under Boeheim, went to the Final Four in five of those appearances, won 10 Big East regular-season titles and five more titles in that conference’s tournament.

“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.”

Reaction was mixed when word of the coaching change reached the Syracuse campus.

Chris Davis, a freshman, wondered if a coach change will hurt the Orange.

“It’s disappointing to be honest,” Davis said. “It hurts the students who are here. To see him gone is heartbreaking.”

Senior Gracie Carrigan was surprised by the move, saying, “It’s shocking. He had such a great career. You almost thought he’d be here forever, so it’s shocking that it’s actually happening.”

Added freshman Benjamin Perle said: “Obviously, massive shoes to fill. I have faith in coach Autry and the coaching staff.”

Syracuse clearly has faith in Autry as well.

He played in 121 games in his four seasons for Boeheim, then spent more than a decade on the bench with his former coach.

“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,” Autry said.

Nance scores 21 as North Carolina survives Syracuse, 72-68

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Pete Nance scored 21 points, capped by a dunk with 19 seconds left that put North Carolina in front for good as the Tar Heels pulled out a hard-fought, 72-68 battle with Syracuse on Tuesday night.

Joe Girard hit from beyond the arc to put Syracuse up, 68-66 with 1:28 left, but after Nance hit the first of two free throws to get North Carolina within one, he missed the second free throw and in the scramble to gather in the rebound, the ball caromed toward the end line and Girard dove to save it. Instead, he flicked the ball right to Nance, who dunked for the lead.

Judah Mintz tried to drive the lane for a go-ahead layup but was called for an offensive foul that was upgraded to a flagrant foul. North Carolina took possession and Caleb Love converted three straight free throws to put the game away.

Armando Bacot scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds with four assists for North Carolina (15-6, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Love finished with 15 points and five assists.

Girard hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points to lead Syracuse (13-8, 6-4). Mintz scored 17 points and had three steals and Chris Bell hit 3 of 5 from deep and finished with 15 points.

North Carolina has a week off before playing host to Pitt on Feb. 1. Syracuse plays at Virginia Tech on Saturday.

Omier’s double-double leads No. 17 Miami over Syracuse 82-78

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 16 Syracuse at Miami
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Norchad Omier had 16 points and 16 rebounds and No. 17 Miami overcame a double-figure deficit to beat Syracuse 82-78.

Harlond Beverly also scored 16 points for the Hurricanes (15-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), Nijel Pack finished with 15 points and Jordan Miller had 13.

Down 11 early in the second half, Miami rallied for a 71-70 advantage on Beverly’s fast-break dunk with 3:48 remaining. The reserve guard then hit two free throws with 1:39 left that increased the Hurricanes’ lead to 78-73.

“We knew we had to come out in the second half and get stops,” Pack said. “The game is going to come down to whoever does that down the stretch.”

Joseph Girard III’s 3-pointer with 1:25 left cut it to 78-76.

The Orange (12-7, 5-3) had possession with 25 second remaining but Omier forced a turnover on freshman guard Judah Mintz with 10 seconds left. Omier was fouled and converted two free throws.

Beverly’s two free throws with three seconds left secured the win as Miami improved to 12-0 at home.

“It’s nice to stay undefeated at home,” Beverly said. “That always feels good to get a win here. You can’t keep losing.”

Beverly made all eight of his free throws and shot 4-for-7 from the field. His minutes proved valuable after Miami’s leading scorer Isaiah Wong was limited because of foul trouble.

“In the month of January, he’s been far more productive and the players on the team really enjoy it when he comes into the game,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said of Beverly. “He’s going to give us a great effort on both ends.”

The Hurricanes shot 25 of 28 free throws.

Pack also played a key role in Miami’s comeback with three 3-pointers in the second half, including a conversion from 35 feet that cut Syracuse’s lead to 64-63 with 5:56 left.

“This is something we worked on the last couple of games, knowing they were going to play zone, especially high up,” Pack said. “So I just practiced taking deeper shots. When I had the opportunity in the game, I was ready for it.”

Jesse Edwards scored a career high 25 points and had 11 rebounds while Girard finished with 21 for the Orange.

“Joe and Jesse really were good and did everything they could to try to win the game,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

The Orange scored nine unanswered points and took their first lead late in the first half. Girard’s three-point play with 4:40 remaining capped the surge and put Syracuse ahead 29-24.

Edwards’ layup with three seconds left gave the Orange a 38-34 lead at halftime.

Miami opened with an 11-2 spurt before Wong committed two fouls five seconds apart. Wong sat after his second foul 4:08 into the game and played five additional minutes the remainder of the half. He finished with nine points.


The Hurricanes were among the 11 Top 25 teams that lost Saturday. Five teams ranked behind the Hurricanes also lost, resulting in only a drop of one spot from the previous poll. Miami entered the rankings at 25 on Dec. 12, peaked at 12 before falling to its current spot.


Syracuse: Edwards had his ninth double-double of the season. Girard shook off a seven-point outing against Notre Dame on Saturday. Girard had scored in double figures in his previous 10 games.

Miami: The home game against Syracuse interrupted a road-tilted sequence for the Hurricanes. They began their road stretch Saturday at North Carolina State and also will play their next three games away from home.

“These three road games in a row are really going to test us to see how much toughness and how much we can fight through adversity,” Pack said.


Syracuse visits Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Miami visits Duke on Saturday.

Franklin leads No. 11 Virginia; Bennett becomes wins leader

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Tony Bennett spoke with reverence for Terry Holland, gratitude for all the players he’s coached in his career at Virginia and called passing Holland as the winningest coach in Cavaliers history “a we award, not a me award.”

The Cavaliers got Bennett to the milestone on Saturday night, even though they squandered most of a 23-point, second-half lead before hanging on to beat Syracuse 73-66.

Bennett, in his 14th season at Virginia, improved to 327-120 with the Cavaliers, breaking the tie with Holland, who was 326-173 in 16 years. Bennett is 396-153 overall, including three years at Washington State.

Bennett, a three-time national coach of the year and four-time ACC coach of the year, was recognized for the achievement on the court after the game, and his players gave him a Gatorade dousing as he began his postgame remarks in the locker room.

“I’m proud of coach Bennett. He deserves it,” freshman Isaac McKneely said. “He’s one of the best for a reason. I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else for sure.”

Armaan Franklin scored 16 points, Reece Beekman added 13 points and seven assists, and McKneely had 12 points for the Cavaliers (11-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). They led 35-26 at halftime and seemed well on their way to their eighth win in the last nine meetings with the Orange when they scored the first 12 points of the second half to lead 47-26.

The Orange (10-6, 3-2) had won seven of their last eight. They trailed by 23 after the Cavaliers’ run to open the second half, but used a 16-3 spurt to cut the deficit to single digits as Virginia missed 12 of 13 shots and went nearly nine minutes without a field goal.

Joe Girard III scored 19 points and Judah Mintz had 18 for the Orange. Girard had 14 after halftime and Mintz had 12.

“Our offense got us beat today,” said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, owner of 1,008 victories in 47 years. “You know, as poorly as we played defensively and as well as they shot, they had 35 points at halftime. We just offensively took ourselves right out of the game.”


Bennett said he told McKneely to “take the parking brake off” and be more aggressive looking for his shots, and McKneely finished 4 for 7 from beyond the arc.

Teammates have also been telling him the same.

“He knows he can shoot the ball. We all know what he can do. It just a matter of him not passing up shots,” Franklin said.


Syracuse: The Orange scored the last eight points of the first half to close a 17-point deficit to 35-26. One of the nation’s top shot-blocking teams, they got three rejections from Mounir Hima in just 4 1/2 minutes of first-half action and finished with seven blocks.

Virginia: Seven of the Cavaliers’ 12 first-half field goals were 3-pointers, with Franklin and McKneely each hitting three, and they made 12 3s in all and only 11 shots from inside the arc. … Jayden Gardner’s first rebound made him the only active player in Division I with 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds. … The Cavaliers had 22 assists on 23 field goals, with Kihei Clark leading the way with 11.


Syracuse is at home against Virginia Tech on Wednesday night.

Virginia is at home against North Carolina on Tuesday night.

Curbelo, St. John’s wins Legends, top Syracuse 76-69 in OT

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK – Andre Curbelo scored a career-high 23 points, Joel Soriano and David Jones had double-doubles and St. John’s dominated overtime for a 76-69 win over Syracuse on Tuesday night to capture the Vividseats Empire Classic at the Barclays Center.

Soriano had 19 points, a career-high, and 14 rebounds and Jones 18 and 13 and matched Curbelo’s six assists for the Red Storm (6-0), who edged Temple 78-72 in their Classic opener.

Both teams had shot clock violations in the final minute of regulation before the Orange missed a contested shot at the buzzer to leave the game tied at 65. The offensive woes continued in the extra sessions before Jones made a layup midway through.

Jesse Edwards quickly got those back with a pair of free throws but St. John’s reeled off six-straight points, which was too much for Syracuse to overcome. The Orange went 1 of 4 from the field, missed the front end of a one-and-one and had four turnovers in the extra session.

Four starters scored in double figures for Syracuse (3-2), led by Judah Mintz with 20. Edwards had 18, Chris Bell 12 and Benny Williams 11 with 10 rebounds. Joe Girard had a miserable night with four points on 1-of-10 shooting a night after scoring 31 in an overtime win over Richmond in the opening game of the classic.

Williams had five points and Mintz four in a 9-0 run that gave Syracuse a 19-8 lead midway through the first half. The Red Storm cut the deficit to three on a Curbelo 3-pointer with six seconds left but Mintz converted a three-point play with a second to go and the Orange led 35-29.

Syracuse got the lead back to 10 but St. John’s went on a 16-2 for a 56-52 lead when Montez Mathis made two free throws at 8:17.

Syracuse was 3 of 16 from 3-point range and shot 39%. St. Johnson was at 40% and 7 of 23 from 3-point range.