900 victories means that there are plenty of moments in Syracuse Orange men’s head basketball coach Jim Boeheim’s history worth remembering.
But, surprisingly enough, some of the most memorable moments did not always have Syracuse on the winning side of things.
Here is a look at Boeheim’s greatest moments on the sidelines for the Orange, beginning at number 10 and working our way up to the top moment in his long storied history:
10. The first win:
Every story has a beginning, and Boeheim’s coaching story began with a win over the Harvard Crimson.
He had just turned 32 nine days before, and here he was, in Springfield, Massachusetts, ironically the home of The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In his first game as a Division I men’s basketball collegiate head coach, Boeheim guided the Orange to a 75-48 victory over the Crimson.
It was only fitting that Boeheim’s inaugural win come where he would later be honored as an inductee into the hall of fame, making his story simply poetic.
9. The last win against Jim Calhoun:
Calhoun and the UConn Huskies were coming off of a championship season in 2010-11. They had not lost a postseason match in 13 contests.
But, then there was the Big East Tournament of 2012.
Syracuse was coming off of an overtime loss, 76-71, to UConn from the tournament a season before.
The stage was set, and the Orange, under the guidance of Boeheim, delivered, avenging their loss from a year ago, with a 58-55 victory.
In the final five minutes of the match, Kris Joseph and James Southerland took control, accounting for all of Syracuse’s final 10 points, giving Boeheim a win in his final contest across from Calhoun.
Boeheim first faced Calhoun in the Syracuse-UConn rivalry back in the 1986-87 season, where Boeheim defeated him on both occasions.
8. The first win versus Georgetown:
Syracuse and Georgetown have faced off against one another dating back to 1930, in one of the nation’s longest rivalries.
With an 0-4 record versus the Hoyas, Boeheim was still working toward a victory against Georgetown.
He achieved that, with the help of Danny Schayes, who led the Orange with 19 points.
But the shot that Boeheim’s squad needed most came from Marty Headd, who connected on a hook shot with five seconds remaining in the game. That basket broke the Syracuse-Georgetown tie at 64-all, giving Boeheim his first win ever as the Orange head coach over the well-known rival Hoyas, 66-64 on February 9, 1981.
7. The first season passing 30 wins:
In Syracuse’s fourth match of the 1987 NCAA Tournament, Boeheim achieved something he had never done before in his career as a head coach: he reached 30 victories in one season.
Before losing in the national championship game, Boeheim would attain one more win, giving him a 31-7 overall record for the 1986-87 campaign.
6. The best record:
Though the Orange did not advance to the national title match at the end of the 2011-12 season, Boeheim did leave the season with something to remember.
In all of his 35 campaigns prior to 2011-12, Boeheim had never won more than 31 games in a season. That changed in season number 36, when Syracuse, under the leadership of Boeheim, elevated his single-season win total to a new high at 34.
The Orange ended the season in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
5. The one that could have been:
Keith Smart’s name will forever be remembered in Syracuse history. Not because he played for the Orange or contributed something positive to the men’s basketball program, but because his hands released the shot that landed in the nylon and landed Syracuse at second-best.
With the game winding down between Syracuse and their foe, the Indiana Hoosiers, Derrick Coleman of the Orange missed a free throw, leaving Syracuse with a one-point edge, 73-72.
Indiana would then bring the ball down the floor and take their time before trying for the win. Smart would make a quick move toward the left corner and elevate, making the jumper that would place the national championship trophy in the hands of Bobby Knight instead of Jim Boeheim.
4. The next one that could have been:
In the 1996 NCAA Tournament, Syracuse won their first two games against the Montana State Bobcats and Drexel Dragons by a combined 44 points.
But in their third match of the tournament, the Orange would need overtime to top the Georgia Bulldogs by a mere two points, 83-81, to advance to the Elite Eight.
A slight edge over the Kansas Jayhawks, 60-57, would place Syracuse in the Final Four for the first time since 1987.
The Orange would get crucial win number five of the tournament versus the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 77-69, but would lose a close battle in the national championship game to the Kentucky Wildcats, 76-67.
3. Win number 900:
The most recent milestone attained by Boeheim takes its place in the top three most memorable games of Boeheim’s career as a head coach because of where the victory has placed the longtime Syracuse sideline general.
Only three coaches in the history of NCAA Division I men’s basketball have ever reached the 900-win mark: Mike Krzyzewski (better known as “Coach K”), Bobby Knight, and now, Jim Boeheim.
With the Orange joining the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), home of Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils, in the 2013-14 season, two of the three winningest coaches will have an opportunity to gain wins versus one another.
2. The never-ending game:
In the Big East Tournament, anything can happen. But, few thought that something of proportion would ever occur.
Syracuse and UConn have developed a nationally-recognized rivalry over the years, but in this game, it reached new heights, as the Orange and Huskies battled through two halves, followed by six overtime periods before Syracuse emerged the victor.
A last-second shot by Syracuse’s Eric Devendorf would have won it had the ball left his hands just a little sooner, but the Orange stayed strong, playing a game that began at 9pm Eastern and ended early the following morning.
Either Paul Harris or Jonny Flynn were involved in every single Syracuse score in the sixth and final overtime period, where the Orange outscored the Huskies 17-7, en route to a 127-117 victory.
1. The 2003 National Championship victory:
After the bitter taste left by the title game loss to Kentucky from seven seasons before, Syracuse finally hoisted the NCAA’s most prized trophy over their heads for the first time under Boeheim.
In order to even reach the championship match, the Orange had to prevent an Auburn Tigers’ team from victory after putting up 51 points in the second half. Syracuse were as close to losing as they could get, ending the contest with a one-point advantage, 79-78.
Their final barrier to a title came, fittingly, in the title game versus the Kansas Jayhawks.
Up by three points, 81-78, with seconds remaining, the Orange had to defend the Jayhawks. Michael Lee received a pass in the corner and elevated for the three to tie, but Hakim Warrick cleanly blocked the shot, sending it out of play. It is with that play that Syracuse secured themselves as national champions in the proudest moment of the Boeheim era.