Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim waited such a long time for his 900th win in college basketball and entered an exclusive club. Boeheim became just the third Division I men’s coach to reach 900 wins in his career. It didn’t come easy though on Monday night against Detroit. The Orange was able to hold off a late rally by Detroit but a celebration of the milestone was one of the furthest things from Boeheim’s mind. Of course he enjoyed the W. He was honored for his rare accomplishment and Boeheim celebrated with his family that was in attendance but he also took the time to acknowledge the 26 victims of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and the gun control laws in the country.
Jim Boeheim joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about what he would have done had he not won his 900th game with everyone in attendance against Detroit, what loss bother him the most during his time at Syracuse, who he thinks the second best player he has ever coached is, on the changing of conferences in college sports and why he spoke out about gun control the other night.
What he would have done had he not won his 900th game with everyone in attendance against Detroit:
“I was thinking how I could explain how you lose a 15 point lead at home with less than four minutes to go in the game but as I thought about it later I didn’t have an explanation so it’s a good thing we did win because it would’ve been embarrassing, but that happens. It’s a lesson that games are never over. You think they are, we had control of the game for 35 minutes and a half or 36 really. You make a couple of bad plays and with the three point shot a 15 point lead goes to seven or eight in a hurry and Detroit is a good team. I think we thought they weren’t for five minutes and it almost cost us the game but hopefully our team, we hadn’t been in a close game all year and we were in one and hopefully that will help us I hope.”
What loss bothers him the most during his time at Syracuse:
“Oh I don’t know. ’87. Last shot. Keith Smart. I will remember that one for a long time and that one bothers me but I think really they all bother you a little bit. Some more than others. I’ve coached 300 losing games so it’s a lot of nights not to feel good about yourself and everything. When you lose you feel like you’re not worth much whenever you lose a game.”
Who he thinks the second best player he has ever coached is:
“Every time I talk about the second best everybody gets mad at me. When I about the best nobody argues. Dave Bing. If I go Carmelo Anthony then Derrick Coleman calls the next day. We have been blessed. So many really, really great players and certainly Derrick Coleman stayed four years and he’s got every record but Carmelo in one year accomplished a National Championship which is hard to do. I’ve had great players which is why I’m still coaching. You have to have great players and great coaches working with you. That’s how it gets done. No head coach does it by himself. I don’t care who the coach is or how great he might be. Mike Krzyzewski is is a great friend of mine and he’s a great coach but he has great, great assistant coaches and they bring a lot to the table and that’s what it takes. And it takes a great fan base and we have a great fan base here. Of course we have such great weather here in Syracuse people love to come here too. Just another 40 or 50 degree day here in Syracuse in December with no snow on the ground.”
On the changing of conferences being all about the money:
“They admit it. (Host: It’s sad though.) The problem with the money grab is we’re all making seven or eight or 10 times what we used to make and we’re still spending all of it so it doesn’t matter if you get more money, you’re just going to spend more money so it’s really a matter of if you just stay where you are and you manage your money then you’re fine. It’s crazy and then you end up playing schools 1,500 or 2,000 miles apart and I don’t think that’s what was meant to be. We’re stuck with it, it’s going to stay that way, there’s going to be more expansion in the future and eventually I think they will get it settled down and I think the Big East schools are making a move and I think it’s time for basketball schools to get in the same conference. It may hurt them somewhat with money and TV but I think those schools can have a great basketball conference. Football and basketball, we co-existed for a long time in the Big East and it was hard. We had Dave Gavitt and Mike Tranghese to get us through the hard times and when those two guys weren’t there the Big East couldn’t navigate through the waters and it may be better now for them to go their way and have a basketball conference. They have good schools, good basketball schools and I think they’ll be just fine.”
When he thought about making a speech on gun control following the game:
“I thought about it all day. I was home before the game, I watched the all day shows and I remember specifically a congressman from Texas saying we really need to get guns in the hand of that lady, the lady that was the principal, so she could shoot this guy coming. I mean do we really have people in congress thinking that way? Is it possible. You cannot believe there is a thought process of thinking like that. To maybe get trained policeman in every school in the country you would probably have to have a couple of them in every grade school and pre-school and I mean that’s not possible. I think the least thing we can do is to get assault rifles out of the country. (Host: But why use that moment?) Well when are you going to use it? That was a good moment. There were a lot of cameras trained on me, I knew it would get attention, I knew it would get your attention, it was on a couple of other shows today and I’m sure a lot of NRA people are going to be writing me nasty e-mails. I just think we have to speak up. You do, I do, we have national platforms. Do you believe we should have assault rifles in this country? (Host: I believe it should be difficult to get certain weapons.) I think you can get a hand gun, a shotgun, or a rifle. I hunt, I used to hunt and I think you should be able to get all that stuff. You should have better background checks and I just don’t think we need 30 clip weapons. I just don’t. Let’s do something about it. If we can’t shame them into doing this then we can’t do much within our system.”