Jim Boeheim is taking a lot of heat nationally for the outburst that got the veteran coach the double-technical heave-ho last Saturday night at the end of Syracuse’s loss to Duke.
USA Today headlined the moment as “Boeheim loses his mind at referees.”
The site deadspin.com said Boeheim “Goes Nuts After Bad Call” and called him “out-of-control, berserk.”
On and on the ESPN Radio hosts went about that half-minute eruption.
The game wasn’t over after that charge call taking away C.J. Fair’s bucket that would have tied the game with 10.4 seconds left. Duke was having a bad night at the free-throw line. Syracuse could have fouled a Blue Devil who could have missed one of two free throws and the Orange could have hit a three to tie the game.
The Duke free throws after the technical effectively ended the game.
Well, sure. But that’s a couple of pretty big could-have’s.
Was it the best move I’ve ever seen Boeheim make in my 31 years of closely following Syracuse basketball?
Of course not.
But at the time it happened Saturday night, I did not blame him one bit.
I thought it was a block against the Duke defender instead of a charge, too.
While flapping my arms and squawking pretty good in my loving room, here’s what I saw in the immediate aftermath.
I saw Jim Boeheim run onto the court, rip off his suit jacket, and unleash obvious profanities at the official who made the call in question.
Here’s what I did not see.
I did not see Jim Boeheim touch an official. I did not see him pick up a chair and throw it. I did not see his rant escalate to something worse after he was ejected from the game.
On Wednesday, Boeheim went on ESPN radio to admit that he went too far with his reaction to the call.
He explained that it was in the scorching heat of a very significant moment of an important game.
I don’t think he need have apologized.
I liked his passion. I liked the way he stood up for his player.
I very much liked the way Jim Boeheim, at 69 years old in this extremely successful first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference for his beloved Orange, showed the world how important a basketball game still is to him.
The tradition has been established. The Syracuse-Duke game will firmly be in the national spotlight whenever, wherever.
It could be again this season, in the ACC Tournament or the NCAA Tournament, and somebody would win the bragging rights. For this season, anyway.
Do you think a major college coach should never lose his cool and yell at an official?
To see the YouTube clip of the play and the fury, click here.
20 thoughts on “Jim Boeheim stood up for his Syracuse squad, and that’s a good thing”
Full disclosure–I’m a Duke grad but I grew up in Connecticut during the heyday of the Big East and remember so many great teams and games in the Carrier Dome. It is always GREAT for college basketball when SU is in the mix because of the tradition and fan-base.
Having been to many games in Cameron I completely understood how Boeheim went nuts. The environment does make visiting teams feel like they are under siege and you have to be so emotionally tough and engaged to fight back against it, that it can lead to such an intense reaction in the heat of the moment: Especially when Syracuse had been fighting so hard.
I actually thought the reaction also was a by-product of two or three decades of frustration where fans have come to think that Duke gets the benefit of close calls at Cameron. Thus, when JB said it was “bullshit” I thought he was speaking on behalf of more than just the game.
I love Duke and Coach K, but can concede that Duke’s critics often make some salient points.
End of the day, Im thrilled Duke won, impressed with Boeheim’s passion, and psyched that this has turned into such an intense rivalry in such a short period of time.
The stakes have been raised which will make future contests “must-see” games.
I think you are correct about the rivalry taking root so quickly, RC, and I am glad to hear a Duke grad admit to the ‘R’ word. As a Maryland grad, I’ve lived through a long stretch of Duke fans looking down at Terp fans to declare, ‘you’re not our rival. We already have one of those, North Carolina.’ Then, and now, I think it is possible to have more than one great rivalry. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
You were right about UVA! To quote Dick Vatale . . . . . . Too Much Virginia! (Wouldn’t that be a great headlined?”
Yes, Anne, there is a Rakeem Christmas. And he and his Orange teammates did not play well against Virginia.
You are always such a “gentle-man, ” Mark !
The rules and NCAA is taking passion from the game. Pretty soon they will make a player apologize for a foul, and shot at center court for a technical.
That brings a whole new picture to me for the phrase “center court shot.” Thanks, Trey.
That made me laugh!
I think it’s only natural for a coach at any level of sport to be extremely passionate and yell at an official. I’ve seen as far back as the grassroots level when I was 10 years old playing softball. That might be taking it too far, but in college, I don’t see anything wrong with it.
By the way, how is Tyler Ennis looking for Syracuse? He’s caught the attention of us Canadians up here but we don’t get many televised Syracuse games. Do you think he’ll enter the draft next year or return to college, Mark?
Chee, even UK loses to Duke, unless, of course, the few times they win. Like a couple of years ago when they won the championship in New Orleans. Only Duke like Duke.
I like your Kentucky attitude, Angie. You are back in a big way!
i love his passion. one of the things i love about college bball the most, the coaches feel it in their bones and are not afraid to show it.
They can be a demonstrative lot, indeed, Beth. Big Ten wise, I was always afraid of the red-sweatered chair-thrower.
yes bk (the other one), was on the scary crazy side. he should have been removed from coaching long before he was actually gone. i’m not into them being violent or berating their players, but love the passion they bring to the court on game day, if its pumping up their players, storming around,jumping, or ‘disagreeing’ with the refs.
His rage was awesome, in the classical definition of that word. Maybe it’s age, but when I see these coaches freak out like that, I just hope there’s a paramedic standing by somewhere.
Yes, someday, some court or field, some coach will pop something in anger, Ross. And it will be bad.
Nice piece, Mark, though I come down on the other side of this question. He coulda made his point and still had the chance to win the game.
He could have, Ed, but I think the rage was just a menial basketball sin. Thanks for stopping by, good to see you yesterday.
Poor guy. It sounds like he is being demonized for giving a damn.
Well, demonized is pretty strong, but lambasted, yup, he’s been that.