The one word I would use to describe the Jim Boeheim post game news conference on Tuesday night was stunning. In some ways he looked, sounded and acted just like the Hall of Fame coach who has been pontificating from the podium for the last three plus decades. When I hear from SU fans who say "that was Coach being Coach" I understand. But on this night he wasn't talking about using the zone instead of man or whether the Big East deserves another spot in the NCAA tournament. For that reason alone I was stunned that Boeheim was so talkative on a night he really should have said very little. I loved his opening statement. It should have been his closing one also.
When Boeheim read his statement at the start last night I expected that to be the end of the talk. Then I assumed he'd spend the rest of the time deflecting questions about his role or lack of a role in the ugly mess that has engulfed his program. Instead he went on the defense, welcoming questions like a hockey goalie coming out of the crease to challenge shooters. He came across a big smug "I never worry about my job" a bit condescending "A head coach is responsible for everything, don't you know that" and a bit defiant " I defended my friend, so be it". This was the time for Coach Boeheim to act more Coach K than Bobby Knight but he chose the aggressive route.
Don't think for a moment that I feel this news conference in any way shows any level of guilt for Boeheim in the disgusting mess allegedly perpetrated by his former assistant. The blame I attribute to Jim Boeheim begins two weeks ago when the allegations were first made public. He was fortunate enough to have his administration allow him to back track on his first misguided comments. But just hours after he got an apparent vote of confidence from his alleged boss (Nancy Cantor) Boeheim went back to commenting on everything including what amounted to more criticism of an alleged victim "there were no ball boys on the road".
This was a night when I wanted to see a Hall of Fame coach act like one. His job was to stand in front of reporters, make a statement, support his University and do your best to slow the story down, not put it on overdrive. If you are a Boeheim fan and you love the Orange, you probably stood and cheered when the Coach took control. But you are not the people he should have been talking to you. Many in the rest of the country wanted to see the man who is the face of Syracuse University speak with humility and perspective. I did not see that on Tuesday night.
Mike Catalana, Sports Director