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NCAAB: Boeheim Wins Number 900

Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim earned his career 900th win on Monday night. Boeheim’s name is synonymous with that of the city and University of Syracuse. Boeheim has been the head coach of the Orange for 37 seasons.

The funeral home owner’s son from central New York has been loyal to both the Syracuse program and its community. Only once, back in 1986, was his name ever linked to another coaching position outside of Syracuse.

Monday night, the longtime Syracuse coach joined colleagues Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski as the only Division I coaches in the history of Men’s Basketball to reach 900 career wins. The 68-year-old Boeheim improved his overall record to 900-304 when the Orange defeated Detroit 72-68 at home in the Carrier Dome.

Boeheim said he was joining two of the best coaches of all time. He added he was glad he had stayed the time to reach the 900 club and thanked all the coaches and players he has had over the years that helped him reach his 900 wins.

His winning percentage of 74.8 is higher that the winning percentages of other legends of his day like Jim Calhoun of Connecticut whose was 70.3, Arizona’s Lute Olson had 73.6, Rick Pitino’s is 72.9 and Knight’s was 70.9.

Boeheim has been able to distinguish himself as being unselfish. He is a prostate cancer survivor and his effort with the Coaches vs. Cancer foundation has helped to raise over $4.5 million for the Central New York area of the American Cancer Society.

He and wife Juli are also supporters of various other organizations that include the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network, Special Olympics and the Easter Seals. However, Boeheim is reluctant and rarely discusses his accomplishments whether they are basketball related or not.

Boeheim said he was glad the milestone came early in the season so he can put it behind him and focus on the rest of the season. He said he and the team were not interested in his total wins and were already looking towards the next game and how to win that one.

Boeheim came to Syracuse in 1962 without a scholarship and quickly developed a great rapport with David Bing, the teams All-American, who was his roommate as a freshman. The two were co-captains of the team their senior season. Bing, after a successful pro career in the NBA is now the mayor of Detroit and was at Monday’s win to honor Boeheim.

Boeheim however, heaped praise on Bing saying if it were not for the former All American, the program at Syracuse would not be what it is today.

Boeheim took Syracuse to the NCAA tournament in 1976, his first year as head coach and the team won at least 20 games for nine of the first ten seasons he coached. Boeheim is the holder of the record for most 20 win seasons at 34.

The Orange made the championship game in the NCAA in 1987 for the first time in the school’s history, but lost to Indiana 74-73. Boeheim finally won his only national championship with the Orange in 2003 with Carmelo Anthony leading the way with 20 points in the final against Kansas.

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