Was there any ever doubt?
C'mon, we all knew Jim Boeheim wasn't retiring after next season. We knew this "succession plan" was for the benefit of the NCAA after it levied sanctions against Syracuse two years ago. Call it appeasement or whatever you want, but few of us actually believed Boeheim would actually step down as Syracuse's men's basketball coach after the 2017-18 season.
Boeheim has been, is and will always be a competitor. You can see it anytime a camera zooms in on him during a game. The guy lives to coach. You can argue that he's overstayed his welcome but ultimately, Boeheim was given a contract extension because Syracuse basketball is a big business and Boeheim is the CEO to best run it.
There was no way the Orange program was going into next season with a lame duck coach. It hurts recruiting and that's the life blood of college sports; usually the teams that attract the most talent are the ones that win. Despite what the NCAA says, Boeheim has more than 1,000 wins.
Who can blame Mike Hopkins for taking the Washington job? Six guaranteed seasons? I'd jump off a cliff for that contract. The Pac 12 isn't a basketball power conference like the ACC so he has a legitimate chance to succeed in the Northwest. And he knew Boeheim wasn't going anywhere after next season, despite the "succession plan." Wish Hopkins well and thank him for his hard work.
Losing Hopkins is a blow. Hopkins was the program's top recruiter and he did a lot of the advance scouting work. Boeheim may need to pick up some of the slack or assistants Adrian Autry (who is now assistant head coach) and Gerry McNamara will be doing even more.
I'll admit, as recently as the early 2010s, I didn't think Boeheim would be coaching now. I thought he'd want to spend time watching his sons and daughter play high school basketball. He doesn't need the money and who would want to go through the rigors of coaching a major Division I program in his early 70s?
Well, Boeheim found time to watch his children play and still coach. Maybe the overall level of success hasn't been as high the last few years but moving to the ACC has played a factor. Getting last season's team to the Final Four as a No. 10 seed shows he still has something left.
You could argue that if some of Boeheim's top players stuck around more than a year or two and made it to their senior seasons, maybe he would have gone to a few more Final Fours.
Not every Syracuse fan is happy with Boeheim's extension. They feel he's too old or he's not as good a coach as he was in the '80s and '90s. Why should he be the coach when his program was put on NCAA probation twice?
I also understand that Boeheim's personality can be prickly. I've seen him eviscerate sportswriters. He's a love him or hate him public figure. I get that.
Ultimately, the guy loves to coach, and he's going to do it as long as his health allows. The university feels the same way. In a business where few coaches last at one school for more than a decade, Boeheim is going to squeeze every last moment out of being the Orange's coach. I can't blame him for that.