He's accumulated 905 wins, and Syracuse men's basketball head coach Jim Boeheim is still pacing the sidelines of the Carrier Dome. After one reaches the golden age of 68 and accumulates a historic number of wins the natural thought progression is, when will he stop coaching?
“He's passed Coach [Bobby] Knight, he's not going to catch Coach K,” said former NBA player Mateen Cleaves, an analyst on the CBS Sports Network. “And I don't think he really wants to go through this whole realignment and everything that's going to go down. I would not be surprised if he retired this year.”
Cleaves brings up a valid point. When there are no more realistic records to break and you've established a legacy, what more is there to coach for? Mike Krzyzewski's record is fluid -- heading into Saturday's game against NC State, he has 942 wins -- so his win-total will be hard to match, especially since Coach K doesn't appear to be retiring anytime soon.
In addition, the new issue of Big East conference realignment will introduce new teams to Boeheim's lexicon that he's not accustomed to. He's notorious for playing a weak non-conference schedule each season, and this may throw a wrench into his operation.
On the other side of the argument is the coach's perspective. One doesn't coach the game merely for records, but rather for the love of it.
“I think he's going to coach as long as he can,” said former coach Pete Gillen, also a CBS Sports Network analyst. “I think he's going to go another four or five years.”
Currently the No.7 ranked Orange are (15-1), first in the Big East for points per game (79.4) and fourth for points allowed (57.6). Looking at the stat sheet, you'd have to say that Boeheim's coaching principles don't show any sign of lethargy. His system is still working in upstate New York, so why fix it if it ain't broke?
He's also still getting top recruits in the country and has bright stars like Michael Carter-Williams putting butts in the seats every night. Also, Syracuse's prestige, which has a lot to do with recruiting, isn't going anywhere anytime soon. However, if you ask Cleaves, Coach Boeheim is.
So what will it be for Coach JB: love of the game or the fame?