Jim Boeheim adds one more milestone to Hall of Fame career tonight, as longtime Syracuse mentor's Orange team defeated Detroit 72-68 to give him career win No. 900, third-most all time. (Photo courtesy of USA Today)
Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight can make room for one more in their exclusive fraternity after tonight.
After leading by 19 points at halftime over a Detroit team that nearly upset Kansas in last year's NCAA Tournament, Syracuse nearly coughed up their double-digit lead at the Carrier Dome, but held off a pesky Titans squad by the final of 72-68 to give head coach Jim Boeheim his 900th career win, joining the two aforementioned coaches as the only men in history to reach that storied plateau.
"I've stayed around long enough," said Boeheim, now in his 37th season as the head coach of his alma mater. "I was a little nervous."
After Detroit pulled to within four points late in the second half, Boeheim had every right to be, but watched as his Orange team held serve and closed the Titans out behind 22 points from James Southerland, as well as 12 points and 10 assists from point guard Michael Carter-Williams, the sophomore's sixth consecutive double-double.
For Boeheim, who has endured more than his share of criticism in his career, as well as the allegations surrounding former assistant coach Bernie Fine; not to mention Syracuse's impending move to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season, the win was more than just another on his ledger. It was a testimonial for a misunderstood coaching genius that continues to be one of the best in his field in an ever-changing college basketball landscape, one that was completely different when the coach picked up his first victory back on November 26, 1976.
Whether or not the 68-year-old Boeheim will stay around long enough to claim his 1,000th win (he would most likely need at least another four years) remains to be seen. Hopefully he does, but if not, his career will go down as one of the greatest in the sport despite what some may think.
Jim Boeheim's Hall of Fame enshrinement speech: (Video courtesy of the Basketball Hall of Fame)