It was a celebration of Jim Boeheim's career in the Carrier Dome. The longtime men's basketball coach reached the 900 win mark as SU eked out a win over Detroit, 72-68. Boeheim becomes only the third person in Division I hoops to hit that milestone, but for him, the past four decades haven't just been marked with success on the court. He's also made a significant impact in the community. Iris St. Meran has more on his legacy.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- He's been at this job for more than 40 years. But during that time, he's raised funds for organizations, awareness about cancer and the spirits of many SU fans and friends.
Most people know where to find Jim Boeheim: On the sidelines, in the Dome, coaching his team. Monday night was no different, except this victory against Detroit made it win number 900. But what makes him standout is not just the wins, but his commitment to the team, University and city.
"If you had to say who is the face of Syracuse, New York, it would, without question, be Jim Boeheim. Part of it is, he's always here. Our Chancellors come and go, our mayors come and go, our criminals come and go. Boeheim came and never left," said Bob Thompson, Newhouse Popular Culture Professor.
He was a student athlete himself at SU and began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1969. More than four decades later, the program is among the elite in the country, consistently ranked in the top ten.
But Boeheim's work in other areas is also recognized. He has his own foundation, The Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, which helps area youth and also raises money for cancer research. He works with a number of local organizations, including the American Cancer Society.
"He's helped us raise money for Hope Lodge, which is where Central New Yorkers can stay for free when they leave the community to go for treatment in New York or Boston or Buffalo. He's really done so much," said Lisa Smith, American Cancer Society Regional Vice President.
And that work continues. Those who work closely with him say he leads by example.
"He's been an inspiration for all of us to follow that pattern. All of our student athletes do a lot of community service and he's a great role model for how you should be," SU Athletic Director Daryl Gross said.
But it is still nice to savor the moment. He's been very modest about this victory, but soon it will be back to work for him and the team.