Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim issued a statement and answered several questions surrounding the firing of long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine on Sunday amid child molestation allegations following Syracuse’s 84-48 win over Eastern Michigan on Tuesday. It was the first time the coach spoke publicly since Fine’s dismissal.
“I’m saddened in many ways by the events that have unfolded. I’m looking forward to a time when we can talk and learn from what has happened,” said Boeheim, reading from a written statement. “There’s an important investigation going on which I fully support. And I can’t add anything to that by speaking more about that now. The investigation and all we can learn from it is important.”
Fine has been investigated by officials over the past two weeks for allegedly molesting two team ball boys—Bobby Davis, and his stepbrother Mike Lang—in the 1980s and 90s. A third accuser, Zach Tomaselli, came forward on Sunday, the same day that ESPN released an tape of a conversation between Fine’s wife, Laurie, and Davis.
That led to the dismissal of Fine, and some calls for the firing of Boeheim.
“I’ve never worried about my job status in 36 years,” said Boeheim, who also said he hadn’t listened to the tape. “When I worry about that, I may have to get a job with (the media).”
Boeheim continued to stress throughout the interview session that there is an active investigation, and waved his written statement several times at the podium to emphasize that.
“What happened on my watch, we will see,” Boeheim said. “When the investigation is done, we will find out what happened on my watch. We don’t know what’s happened on my watch right now. There’s an investigation under way.”
Still, Boeheim did elaborate on some of the background of the investigation.
“There are no ball boys that travel with the team,” Boeheim said, referring to both Davis and Lang. “And there never has been.”
Boeheim also stood by his comments made immediately following the break of the story, in which he said the accusations were “lies” and questioned the financial motives of the two accusers.
“I supported a friend, I’m proud of what I did,” Boeheim said. “I’ve known (Fine) for 48 years. I think you owe a debt of alliance and gratitude for the program. That’s what my reaction was. So be it.”
Boeheim then attempted to clear a misconception that he was a central figure of the University. He told reporters that he was not consulted on Syracuse’s move to the Atlantic Coast Conference or the hiring of chancellor Nancy Cantor and athletic director Daryl Gross, among other things.
“I wasn’t consulted,” Boeheim said. “And shouldn’t have been.”
Boeheim wouldn’t comment when asked whether he had spoken with Fine since he was fired.
As the story related to his team, Boeheim wasn’t concerned.
“This situation,” Boeheim said, “does not affect the team.”
Corey Mallonee contributed to this story with reporting from Syracuse.