Jim Boeheim joins college basketball’s exclusive 900-wins fraternity
In his 37th season at Syracuse, Jim Boeheim now looks to overtake Bobby Knight (902 wins) on the list of all-time winningest coaches. Jim Boeheim is also chasing Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who currently has 936 wins.
When Jim Boeheim enrolled at Syracuse University in 1962 and made the basketball team as a walk-on from nearby Lyons, N.Y., no one, including Boeheim, could have imagined that he would eventually coach the Orange to 900 wins.Skip to next paragraph
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He achieved that lofty milestone Monday night in the Carrier Dome, however, as the Syracuse held off Detroit, 72-68, before 17,902 fans in the Gotham Classic. Next up in this mini-holiday-style tournament is a Dec. 22 date with Temple in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
With three more wins, Boeheim will pass Bob Knight as the Division I men’s coach with the second-most career wins. He then would only trail Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who currently has 936 wins. Boeheim was on Krzyzewski ‘s US Olympic team coaching staff in 2008 and 2012.
While pleased to be in such esteemed company, Boeheim said 900 is “just a number,” and what matters to him is how his team plays. Year after year, of course, the Orange play well and currently are 10-0 and in possession of the nation’s longest home winning streak, of 30 games. In his 37 years at the helm, Syracuse has never had a losing season.
Boeheim first experienced success at the school in the mid 1960s as a player. Despite being a walk-on, he went on to become the team captain and played alongside roommate Dave Bing (now Detroit’s mayor) as they led Syracuse to a 22-6 record and its second-ever NCAA tournament berth.
After graduating, Boeheim (pronounce BAY-HYME) spent a few years playing minor-league basketball in Scranton, Pa., before becoming a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater in 1969. He moved up to a full-time assistant and landed the head job in 1976 when Roy Danforth left Syracuse for Tulane.
A main factor in the school’s proud basketball tradition, Boeheim readily acknowledges, is an incredibly loyal fan base. “That’s why I always felt this was a great place to coach and why I never really thought about going anywhere else,” he said after win No. 900.
Playing in the Carrier Dome has allowed the team to annually draw some of the largest home crowds in college basketball. On 71 occasions since the dome opened in 1980, more than 30,000 fans have streamed into the largest on-campus sports stadium, including an NCAA record 34,316.