I’m a bit like the Dos Equis man of books: I don’t always read them, but when I do…I prefer books on sports teams/players I root for.
For those who follow Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, his new book, Bleeding Orange: Fifty Years of Blind Referees, Screaming Fans, Beasts of the East, and Syracuse Basketball, will not disappoint in shedding some light into the life of a man whose exterior is tough to penetrate most times.
Sure, there are plenty of stories in the book you certainly have heard before: the highlights of the 2003 championship, the lowlights of the 1987 title game and the relationships Boeheim forged with the many coaching personalities of the old school Big East.
In addition, there are stories that have been previously told, in part. But, getting an added perspective of the coach in the middle of the last half-century of Syracuse basketball will give the reader a different twist on some of those moments.
Then, there are some tales that Boeheim divulges in here that I had either forgotten about or never heard before. The real factor that may have contributed to outside observers thinking Gerry McNamara was overrated.
As it turns out, McNamara was just a little more than banged up throughout the 2005-06 seasons. Many times, G-Mac could be seen dragging on the court, physically exhausted from having to carry a team on his shoulders.
But McNamara played through most of his senior season with a stress fracture in his pelvic bone. He couldn’t put on his socks without lying on the ground. “He played through more pain than anyone I ever saw and never missed a start,” Boeheim writes.
Big words from a guy who has had a lot of players walk through his office.
In addition, Boeheim divulges what happened in the moments following the end of the infamous “sport coat-tossing” game against Duke last season…and just how prickly of a person Derrick Coleman was…Boeheim dishes some dirt that had never been unearthed before.
As for his general tone? Boeheim has been always been labeled as salty, humorous, stubborn (among other adjectives), depending on his mood. But, through his own words and ghostwriter Jack McCallum’s, Boeheim’s voice shines through as playfully snarky, certainly more on the gentle side than some of his postgame press conferences. Sure, he has some criticisms in there. And, honesty still is firmly in his repertoire. But, Boeheim leaves you smiling through the book, as opposed to wanting to escape his wrath.
Bleeding Orange is a quick read, especially for those passionate fans of Orange Nation. It’s revealing, reflective and reassuring that, after all these years, the Syracuse basketball team still has the right guy at the helm.
Make sure to get your copy of Bleeding Orange: Fifty Years of Blind Referees, Screaming Fans, Beasts of the East, and Syracuse Basketball on Amazon.