Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim addresses retirement chatter

The annual question surrounding Jim Boeheim’s looming retirement status has an answer — for now.

Following Syracuse’s win over Boston College on Saturday, Boeheim told ESPN’s Pete Thamel that he has “no other plans” and would “probably” return for a 48th season in 2023-24. And whenever the time does come for Boeheim to retire from the only place he has ever coached, the 78-year-old said “it’s my choice” and he “can do whatever I want.”

“Listen, this has been the question of the day for 15 years,” Boeheim said. “This isn’t a new question. It’s just the calendar going, ‘Well, he’s 78.’ It’s just the calendar. If it wasn’t the calendar, if I was 65, no one would be saying anything. And I’m not going to retire just because it’s the calendar.”

Though he acknowledged that he doesn’t definitively know what his coaching future looks like, Boeheim said that 95 percent of Syracuse “people” still want him to coach — and “why wouldn’t they,” he asked. 

“As bad as we’ve been the last two years, we were fun to watch last year and we’re still fun to watch and we’re still competing,” Boeheim said. “We just played three of the top teams in the country to a standstill. If you’re getting beat by 20 by those teams, then you say, ‘OK, we’ll see.’”

Jim Boeheim and Syracuse are in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season.
Jim Boeheim and Syracuse are in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament for a second consecutive season.
Corey Sipkin for the New York Post

In his interview with ESPN, Boeheim also commented on elements of the changing college basketball landscape: the transfer portal and name, image and likeness. He claimed that Pittsburgh, Miami and Wake Forest all “bought a team,” but Demon Deacons head coach Steve Forbes told Thamel that those accusations were “one thousand percent wrong.” Boeheim later backtracked his claims.

The topic of Boeheim’s retirement has been at the forefront of the Syracuse program ever since the university’s first succession plan backfired. Boeheim was supposed to retire following the 2017-18 season. Mike Hopkins, who had been with the program for more than two decades, was tabbed to take over.

But Hopkins accepted Washington’s head coaching position, Boeheim stayed at SU and the plan lost its roots. Still, Boeheim told ESPN Radio in Syracuse last year, “there’s a plan” for when he does retire.

The 2021-22 campaign ended with the first losing season Syracuse has ever endured under Boeheim.  Unlike past seasons — like in 2020-21, when the Orange snuck into the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 — SU never accumulated the necessary wins to piece together a postseason résumé. It lost nonconference games to teams like Georgetown and Colgate. It was blown out in a pair of tests against Duke.

Joe Girard III drives to the basket for Syracuse.

Jim Boeheim told ESPN it'll be "my choice" for when he decides to retire.
Jim Boeheim told ESPN it’ll be “my choice” for when he decides to retire.
Corey Sipkin for the New York Post

A similar trend has followed in 2022-23, with losses to Bryant, Colgate and St. John’s. It’d mark just the third time in Boeheim’s tenure that Syracuse has missed the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons.

“Anything can happen,” Boeheim told ESPN when asked about his retirement and coaching a young SU team again. “Anything, literally. We’ll just see what happens. I don’t say anything because I don’t know.”

The Orange (14-10, 7-6 ACC) have been led by Joe Girard III’s 16.6 points per game Judah Mintz’s 15.4 and Jesse Edwards’ 14.0 this season, and all three — along with other underclassmen in the rotation — could return for additional seasons, according to Boeheim, if they don’t explore the transfer portal.

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