Boeheim Stays As Syracuse Coach; Hopkins' 'Like A Son To Me'

Mar 21, 2017

SYRACUSE (WRVO) - Syracuse University men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim said he never had any intention of staying with the program beyond next year. 

Credit Tom Magnarelli, WRVO

"I fully knew that next year would be my last year," Boeheim said. "I never, ever thought anything else, ever. I never tried to change that in any way, shape or form. I was thrilled that Mike Hopkins would be the coach here at the end of next year. That was set in stone."

That all changed when his would-be successor, assistant coach Mike Hopkins, opted to become the head coach at the University of Washington. Boeheim said Hopkins has a tremendous opportunity to build a program.

Boeheim said Hopkins came to his home on Saturday in tears to deliver the news. It was the first time Boeheim heard about him leaving.

“And he said I got a chance to go to Washington," Boeheim said. "I was so happy because he was happy. Mike Hopkins is like a son to me. I think this is the best for Mike Hopkins. I can say that because I think he's my son. When my son makes a decision, I look at it and is that the best thing? I think this is best thing for Mike Hopkins. I think he would have been great here. I think he will be great there.”   

Boeheim said he’s known Hopkins since he was 16 years old and came to SU's basketball camp. Hopkins went on to play for SU and was an assistant coach for more than 20 years. Boeheim said he wanted Hopkins to take over but now that he’s not, Boeheim has to look forward. SU extended Boeheim’s contract for an unspecified amount of time beyond next season.  

“My immediate thought was I want to coach," Boeheim said. "Immediately, I want to continue to coach.”

Boeheim said he wants to keep his current staff and recruits and the program is actively recruiting new players. And the 72-year-old offered no timeline on when he would retire.

“I think you could coach until you’re 80 if you wanted to," Boeheim said. "If you’re healthy, why not?”

And after a not-so-great season ending in the second round of the NIT tournament, Boeheim reminded fans that SU was in the NIT in 2002 and the following year, they won the NCAA national championship.