Jim Boeheim, the Hall of Fame coach of Syracuse who became one of the faces of college basketball as the sport rose in stature over the course of his 47 seasons of coaching, was unexpectedly replaced as the team’s coach on Wednesday after a loss in a conference tournament. Boeheim’s tenure at Syracuse spanned the sport’s rise to prominence and made him one of its most recognisable figures.
Adrian Autry, a former player for Boeheim who has been the men’s basketball team’s associate head coach since 2017, was named as his successor hours after Boeheim told reporters that it was “up to the university” to decide whether or not he would continue as coach. Autry has been with the team since 2017. Boeheim coached the men’s basketball team at Syracuse University from 1997 to 2018.
It was not immediately clear whether Boeheim had retired or been fired, but the university announced his departure hours after Syracuse lost 77-74 to Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. The game was decided by a 3-pointer made by Daivien Williamson in the final second of regulation.
The performance of Boeheim, who is 78 years old, drew criticism not just on social media but even during the televised broadcast of the game. While speaking with reporters a few minutes after the game, Boeheim himself dropped hints about his impending retirement, but he also thanked his superiors.
In the same year, Syracuse named Mike Hopkins, a former player for Syracuse who was serving as an assistant coach at the time, as the interim head coach. Hopkins had previously served as an assistant coach. Two years later, Hopkins became impatient with the waiting process and accepted the position as head coach at Washington, where he has remained to coach until the current season.
While the Orange’s teams were successful, they often confused opponents in the N.C.A.A. tournament who were not used to seeing the zone defence. This occurred even as college basketball progressed into a more open game. At the 2021 N.C.A.A. tournament, Syracuse, which was given a seed of No. 11, first defeated San Diego State and then West Virginia in order to proceed to the round of 16.
In 2019, after a game, Boeheim was driving home when he collided with a pedestrian who had been involved in a previous collision. The person was subsequently killed. The relatives of the victim sued him in 2020, despite the fact that he was not charged with a crime in connection with the incident.
The abilities of Carmelo Anthony helped lead the Orange to victory in the 2003 N.C.A.A. Division I men’s basketball championship under the direction of Boeheim. Anthony went on to become a superstar in the National Basketball Association. Despite the fact that Boeheim only won one national title, his teams were perennial contenders in the N.C.A.A. tournament, and he reached the championship game five times in his coaching career.
Several supporters got more frustrated as a consequence of the team’s dismal performance, Boeheim’s insistence on playing his signature zone defence, and Boeheim’s failure to consistently secure top recruits.
Autry, now 51 years old, was a standout point guard for Boeheim’s team in the early 1990s. After graduating from Syracuse University, Autry went on to have a successful professional career, largely playing in Europe. In 2006, he was appointed as an assistant head coach at Bishop Ireton High School in Virginia, and that year marked the beginning of his career as a coach. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Virginia Tech before moving on to become a member of the Syracuse coaching staff for the 2011-12 season. In March of 2017, he was elevated to the position of assistant head coach.