Orange Watch: Syracuse basketball is back, and so is Jim Boeheim for likely up to three more seasons

Boeheim could be around another three years

With the allotted quadrennial bonus of four August international exhibition games added onto a pre-season practice schedule that was extended two weeks by the new “42 day rule,” the Orange have been officially rounding into form since Sept. 27 at the Melo Center, had conference/team media day obligations and the annual fun of Orange Madness spread out three weeks later, all while tuning up for Friday night’s Dome exhibition opener against Holy Family (7:00 p.m. ET / Time Warner Cable).

The Div. II Tigers, whose campus is located in Far Northeast Philadelphia, were 18-10 last season and are coached by R.C. Kehoe, the nephew of Saint Joseph’s 19 year boss Phil Martelli, who’s a longtime Coaches vs. Cancer comrade of Jim Boeheim’s.

Boeheim could be around another three years

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As the SU coach begins his third incarnation of directing his program in a conference having metamorphasized from ECAC Upstate (1976-79), to Big East (1979-2013), and now to the 61 year old ACC over his 38 years in charge, a season removed from dropping tantalizing hints to the media about the day he would finally walk away which led to one last fiery verbal media back-and-forth at the Final Four, all’s quiet on the retirement front for this season.

Last May’s proud announcement from USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo that Mike Krzyzewski would indeed return to guide the Men’s National Team through the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio essentially ended the matter.

With Coach K back for his third quadrennium of service there was little doubt that his close coaching and personal friend and zone defense guru from Syracuse would again be along for the ride as he was in China in 2008 and London in ’12, and although an Olympic coach doesn’t have to be an active coach, that’s not Coach Boeheim’s style.

There’s a big enough challenge embarking on a pre-conference schedule that is a few games stronger than by the usual ‘Cuse early-season scheduling standards with the three Maui games, Indiana, Villanova and St. John’s, before the 18 game run through the ACC including Duke home and home, to worry about a coaching end date.  That takes care of 2013-14.

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Then there are the comments from top 2014 recruit Chris McCullough who verbally committed to SU last year, the 6-9 forward attending Brewster Academy in N.H. has indicated in several interviews that Boeheim told him he’ll be around to coach his freshman season.  That takes care of 2014-15.

By his third ACC season, as he begins the transition to Mike Hopkins and with the Olympic Games around the corner in August ’16, the unimaginable 1000 victory mark could likely be within Boeheim’s reach (an average of 27 wins for three seasons) with 31 games on the regular season schedule plus the post-season, and although no coach ever speaks publicly on such matters while active, the ultimate competitor in Boeheim would obviously relish such an incredible, lofty achievement.  That takes care of 2015-16.

With the talent on this season’s roster, the other recruits joining McCullough next year, and now the 2015 class forming, it’s time to enjoy the next likely final three seasons of the incredible Boeheim career.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.