Competition continues to drive Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim addressed the media on Thursday
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim addressed the media on Thursday

“It’s a myth that I run things at Syracuse University.”

It just feels that most people see things that way for basketball coach Jim Boeheim, who simply cannot do anything without having it parsed over by the masses.

That is the weight carried by the successful. And Boeheim reached his level of success by being competitive.

The stories have been often told about how Boeheim arrived on campus as a freshman and was told that he would never make the varsity basketball team. And then, once he did make the team, how he would never play. And he only ended up starting as a team captain in the same backcourt as Dave Bing.

That is just his playing career.

» Related: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim calls NCAA sanctions ‘unduly harsh,’ reaffirms retirement timeline

Wins upon wins upon wins as a coach. Trips to the Final Four in four separate decades and a national championship.

All of these are due to Boeheim’s competitive nature.

When you saw the energy he showed in defending himself and his program Thursday morning, you know that the fire still roars inside him. One of the greatest competitors around showed he views the NCAA’s allegations and the appeals by both the university and himself as a competition, although not one that he can truly win, but one in which he will fight and scratch with everything he has.

Citing NCAA rules, including some that he voted for while being on the board of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, Boeheim showed he is not going to simply roll over.

Things are not always pretty in competition. So, it was not a good look when Boeheim cited that the football program had three players involved with impermissible benefits at the YMCA while only one basketball player did the same.

Of course, no one recalls that, as a result of the NCAA investigation, the football program is now on probation for five years, like the basketball program, and also self-vacated 11 wins for permitting those ineligible players to play. Or at least they don’t recall it except to make jokes at the expense of Greg Robinson.

So, it is not like Boeheim drove the bus over football coach Scott Shafer, as was alluded to by some on Twitter. It’s more that no one remembers that the football team has already been punished because it has been mired in mediocrity for over a decade.

And Boeheim, in the opinion of many, lords over the campus, nay, they entire city of Syracuse.

So the weight on Boeheim’s shoulders is heavy.

But he carries that weight into battle.


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About Jim Stechschulte 894 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by He currently resides in Syracuse.