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March 31, 1996

Jim Boeheim


Q. Jim, looking ahead Monday night, if you're fortunate to win, do you have a sense of history obviously with '83 and '85, you were talking about, you thought Villanova was going to win, would you put it in perspective --

COACH BOEHEIM: I didn't say I bet on it. Perspective?

Q. If you're fortunate to where this would be.

COACH BOEHEIM: That's not for me to do. All I ever try to do is, I try to coach basketball. And I try to give honest, frank opinions, sometimes they're very negative towards some of you people. And that doesn't -- that's not a good way to be. And I know that. And my one or two counselors, from your profession, have tried to counsel me for 20 years and haven't been successful yet. But I'm making every effort to get better. But it's just difficult for me. I think that some guy who I really don't like wrote something I'll quote, that he thinks I'm injured by my temperament not by my triumphs, which is the first time I've really seen anything he wrote that I agreed with. But I think that's true to some extent. I'm a difficult person in dealing with people, if I don't like something I just tell people that. And sometimes that's really not the best approach for things.

Q. Jim, just to follow up on that notion of the perfect game. I know you said you didn't want to make any predictions. But what would be the perfect game for Syracuse, what would satisfy you or is there such a thing?

COACH BOEHEIM: Well, Rhode Island this year we played pretty close. This team's played very, very good games this year. We've had a couple of games at Arizona, in Georgetown, at home, where we played extremely well. I love the game of basketball. I don't think you ever play perfectly. I like to see the game played. I'm in coaching because I like the game. My favorite moment in this year's tournament was Princeton and the UCLA game, that was my favorite moment. As much as I try to pull for league games, the second saddest moment at the NCAA tournament was when they lost to Georgetown. It's just because of the way I like the game. And to see the way Pete's (Carril) teams play. It's what I think the game is all about, what I like about the game. And I just like the game. It's hard to explain why it is, when you just start playing basketball when you're in a small town for almost really no reason when you're very young. It's just a dominant force in your life. You just have a special feeling about the game. And I think a lot of the time I get in trouble because I care probably too much about the game and I care not at all about my image, which is not good: Not that I'll change, but it's not good.

Q. Jim, how many times have you watched the tape of the '87 games and do you watch it all the way to the end?

COACH BOEHEIM: I've never watched the tape of the '87 games.

Q. Jim, what is it that you all do with the zone that you think makes it so effective. And is that for opponents? Is it compounded by the fact they don't see it that often?

COACH BOEHEIM: I'm not really sure what it is, and I just hope nobody can quite figure it out until after Monday. And we'll get the videotape out maybe Tuesday morning and put it on the market. (Laughter). But any zone defense, you can't be effective in the zone unless it's justifiable and you make certain adjustments and the players maybe certain adjustments during the course of the game as the game unfolds, where people are attacking you, where they're hurting you. And I used to give the 2-3 zone lecture when I started out coaching because we played a lot. Then we went away from it, we didn't play that much zone for a number of years. But one of my opening remarks in the zone, is when a coach asks you the question, Coach, what if they have good shooters in the wings and they have a penetrating guard and they've got a big guy under the basket that can hurt you on the boards and they've got a good inside player, what do you do? I said you just don't schedule those people. (Laughter).

Q. Jim, have you spoken with Rick in the last week or so, in the last couple of days?


Q. Did you talk to him during the season and do you have any appreciation or can you offer any comments on the monstrosities created on Kentucky?

COACH BOEHEIM: It's always been a monster. It just depends who's there at the time. But it's always been a monster. It's an unbelievable state, I'm in Kentucky a lot, and it's a basketball crazed place. Rick might be the only modern coach that can handle that job, for this length of time. I'm not sure that anybody else can handle that job. I really am not. We don't talk that much during the year. I talked to him at the theater the other night, we talked quite a bit. But we usually mostly talk about golf and how he can get on Augusta because of C.M., and I can't. That's a sore point. And he can't play and I can. So it doesn't seem right. We mostly just talk about golf and stuff like that. We don't talk too much about basketball.

Q. Jim, Todd Burgan had had some problems with free throws throughout the West Regional, I wanted to talk about that.

COACH BOEHEIM: He started out shooting the ball from the field and the line for a long time. He got in a slump and started thinking about it. I think in the NCAA tournament some players do. We went back and talked to him about it, and the release. He doesn't finish it sometimes, he kind of flings it up there. And just talked to him about -- he's got a lot of confidence. In fact when he took the first three in the first half, I was looking at him and said, "we can get that shot a little later." And he said, "I can make that shot." Now, was kind of his attitude. A coach doesn't want a player to shoot, he says, we can get that shot later, which means don't take the damn shot, is what it means. In the old days coaches could get away with saying it and players bought that shit (laughter) now they know you're saying don't shoot the ball. He's got a lot of confidence for a guy that hasn't been shooting it well. But he won the game. He won the game. They went on a five point run after they switched to the zone. And they did a pretty good job in the zone getting inside and they left him open and he won the game, that's as simple as that.

Q. Well, Jim, do you see any parallels between your team and North Carolina State in '83 and Villanova in '85?

COACH BOEHEIM: Those guys are a lot better coaches, I guess. I don't know. Again, those are years where the first game got a lot of build up. But those were very good teams. NC State was a very good team. They were on a mission, they just kept winning close game after close game all the way through that tournament. It was just almost inevitable they followed the same script. They missed foul shots, they went down and scored and fouled and made the score. It was unbelievable. I remember sitting there and watching the first game, they played Pepperdine. There was just no way they could ever win the Pepperdine game. I mean how many people stayed up and were watching that, whatever, two in the morning, whatever it was. There was no chance they could have won that game. And they won that game. But that was just an unbelievable run, most unbelievable in the history of the tournament in my experience. Those were different games, different teams.

Q. Coach, why have you never watched a tape of that '87 game?

COACH BOEHEIM: It hurts too much.

Q. Coach, stepping back for just a moment to your hiring of Coach Pitino, I was wondering if you could talk about the circumstances about it a little bit more, specifically were you aware before this interview was setup that this was his wedding night? Why did it have to take place on that particular night and did he talk at all about the wedding or was it all about basketball?

COACH BOEHEIM: We didn't talk about the wedding. I was in New York that day. I had to go to recruit Roosevelt Bouie that week. He had to go on his honeymoon, which I didn't want to have happen if he was coming to work for me. And I was told by our mutual friend that it was obviously his wedding day, but he gave me the hotel room. So I assumed that he figured I'd use it. And did I answer all that stuff? Did I answer everything there?

Q. Where was it?

COACH BOEHEIM: It was in the Americana. It was a long time ago. How did I remember that?

Q. In these situations people say that you guys aren't under as much pressure as Kentucky, and you don't have anything to lose because you're not expected to win. Isn't that a fallacy, you're both playing for a title?

COACH BOEHEIM: Absolutely. We weren't supposed to win in '87, either, but I remember getting killed when I lost, in the papers. So it hurt just as much whether we were favored or not. I told the players that. I told them after the regional. I said no matter -- whatever happens, you're having the best moment of your life now and if you lose in the Final Four, you'll have the worst moment. And it was just to prepare them to make sure they were ready to go out and give everything they had. In '87 we gave it everything we had. And our players had nothing to be ashamed of at all. But it still hurt. It always will.

Q. A couple of weeks, the last two weeks the letters to the editor in the LA Times have been talking about Jim Harrick because of the game you mentioned. I wondered in this society, where people are not satisfied no matter what happens even if you win a championship, is that sometimes in your situation where you've come so close, just make you or other coaches get out of coaching?

COACH BOEHEIM: It does, it wears on you. It's difficult. But there's nothing else that you want to do. People ask me all the time, are you going to get out? My answer is, for what? It's not quite time -- I'm not good enough, no matter what the reputation, no matter what Dick says on TV, I'm not that good on the golf course to go on the senior tour. I laugh about all these guys that go on the senior tour, don't they realize that the guys out there were the guys that couldn't -- they're not new guys, they're guys like Jack Nicklaus and stuff like that. (Laughter). I laugh all the time. I play with a scratch golfer. He's been a scratch golfer all his life and he's 50 years old, and he thinks he's got a chance to go out on the tour. I laugh: But the other thing, the all or nothing syndrome, it's just too bad. I've said it many, many times. This is what we're stuck with. Connecticut had the best team any of the teams ever had in the Big East. I've been in the Big East since the beginning. And they've had -- now they have had a horrible season I guess or whatever, all these things. And it's unfortunate. Like I said the other day, football coaches are a lot smarter than we are. 32 guys are happy. 16 that win the Bowl and the 126 that lose, they're all equally happy. It's amazing.

Q. When you have a top 25 program, anybody, year after year, whatever, you drop a certain kind of constituency that expects certain things from you. You talk about Rick and Kentucky, where the situation is extreme. What is it like in Central New York, if that's where your constituency is. And what are the good things and bad things about having this happen to you?

COACH BOEHEIM: The real absolute that I see, and obviously people aren't going to come up to you and say, Coach, you're terrible. They just aren't, even the ones that think that. I go out, I have a ten year old daughter, so we go out a lot in the community. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be -- I wouldn't probably go out a lot. But I go out to the malls. And every time a hundred people come by and say great job, great year. This is after we lost to Arkansas. This was after we lost to UMass. We've been a pretty tough out in this tournament, even though we've lost some games, we've been a pretty tough out. I think we've played hard and good in the tournament and unfortunately, that's all that's supposed to matter. But the people in Syracuse and Central New York have been unbelievably supportive. And by and large, the media has been very supportive. I very seldom have negative things written by the media. It all comes from two sources, letters to the editor and talk shows. And if you ever did a profile on the people that are involved in writing the letters to the editor and calling the talk shows, I don't think you'd really be upset about what they're saying. I think the greatest thing is freedom of the press. I'm a history major. And freedom of the press is great. But I don't think it's written that people have a right to write letters to the editor and be on talk shows with no education indication and express an opinion that has no basis in fact. And in fact, when they include in every letter things that just aren't true, that never happened. If a professional, a writer writes something about me that's true and factual, I can't argue with it. And you can always get a coach that's been coaching 20 years. We've lost 20, 30 games we shouldn't have lost. You pack those into a small article, and somebody reads that and doesn't understand the game. They say, gee, he lost all those games. It looks like a lot. When in reality, it isn't a lot.

Q. Could I have a quick follow-up to that? After the Indiana game, was there -- could that have been the toughest time? Not because you lost the game, but because they wanted to win it?

COACH BOEHEIM: It was not a tough time in Syracuse at all. Obviously, the media is going to then take their shots at you and that's something you have to live with, as far as coaching. Then again that's part of the profession. In the beginning you didn't get paid a lot of money and you took that shit. Now you at least make some money. But it's the same shit (laughter). Nothing has changed in coaching. Everybody talks about that and says how things have changed. Not one thing has changed. You just make more money today, that's all. And hopefully talented media people, they make more money. I have to laugh, Bob, you could be down in Weehawken doing the 6 o'clock sports making 65,000. You're doing the show, criticizing everybody, and you're criticizing everybody, and you're making three hundred thousand. I didn't know that, somebody told me that later. We can all take advantage of the economy. And hopefully we're all happy we're here and not in Russia. Where they didn't have that system. It's a free world out there. You try and make money and everybody should have that opportunity. But it's the same business that its always been. You win games or you get another job. It's as simple as that. Nothing's changed.

Q. You seem to go back and forth when the subject is image and how you're perceived. I just wonder, from discomfort, perhaps, to shrugging it off and making light of it. At bottom where do you feel about that?

COACH BOEHEIM: I don't try to go back and forth on that. If I am, I'm not being -- I'm not saying what I mean or you're interpreting it wrong. My image is what it is. It's there. I haven't done anything to change it. And like I said, I've said many things, smart or sharp things or telling people that this is stupid or whatever, that I probably shouldn't have done. But it's just one of those things that I do. If I see something you write and I don't like it, I just come over and tell you, that's bullshit. That's not a good way to deal with the media. It's probably not a good way to deal with anybody, I guess. But if people say something to me like that, I don't mind if they tell me that.

Q. On a more rational subject, golf. What is your legitimate handicap this these days? What might it be if you were coaching in the Sun Belt. If Keith Smart was the toughest shot you ever had to endure, what was the toughest shot he made against you in golf. The golf coach in Syracuse, before it folded?

COACH BOEHEIM: I was the last golf coach at Syracuse, we folded it. The great thing about golf. The players went out the front nine, I went out the back nine. And when it was all said and done they told me the scores. And if we won I phoned it in. (Laughter) Everybody thought we were undefeated every year. We were not, but we had a great time. And like I said, people thought we never lost a match. But I don't know, if it was until the Sun Belt. I'd probably be a little bit lower. It depends, I'm between 5 and 8, depending on which band of cheaters I'm playing with. Like Ben Schwartzwalder used to say, a great coach, I said I need that, I'm playing with coaches. I said you're playing with me today. I was a young guy, and I'll never forget, I started out, eagle, par, birdie and I was one down. (Laughter) True story, regular golf course. I was a one handicaper at the time, I had two dollars in my pocket. And I was one down after four. And I looked at coach Schwartzwalder. I said I don't think I can beat you. And he said stop crying. (Laughter) He shot a little 79 at me. I got a little upset and made a few bogies coming in. But I got trounced.

Q. Jim, you have said that you think about the '87 game often. I wondered if there are victories that you think of as often and, if not, what do you think that says about you, does that bother you that you dwell on it?

COACH BOEHEIM: I think a psychologist will understand that. But I said this the other day, I only think about the losses. People say I'm not happy, which is not really exactly true, when we win. I'm not unhappy when we win. But I'm very unhappy when we lose. I've always been that way. We've had a lot of great wins. People say we can't beat great teams. You read in the paper that our past teams have not played up. If you look at it year by year, team by team, they've played up to pretty much what their potential was, with a couple small exceptions. But that's just one of the things. But I really -- I like to not lose, whatever that profile is. I'm sure you could find somebody that could give you an exact -- I just hate to lose. Whatever it is we're playing I want to win. I just don't want to lose. It doesn't mean that because I win I get all happy. It just means, I just don't like to lose at things, golf or whatever. That's why I play with PJ all the time and Rick, because they can't beat me.

Q. Coach, the game tips in about 31 hours. That's not much time to prepare for a championship, what's the team's schedule and your schedule between now and then?

COACH BOEHEIM: We waste about an hour and a half over here today (laughter) The one thing I seriously wish we could do is have this press conference for the coaches. I think -- the players by this time, I think -- this would be -- to me it would be a great benefit. It would be a recommendation that I would make when they ask us to, I think on this day there should be an hour and a half practice and right after that I think the coach should be available to do this at the arena and then the players should kind of be left to get ready for this game, today. I think that should happen. But we'll have an hour and a half practice and try to make a couple of adjustments of what we'd like to do Monday night. But one day, it's difficult. It's a difficult preparation.

Q. Jim, to follow up my question before about your image and how you feel about yourself. You won 75 percent of the games you coached at Syracuse, very successful in the Big East and yet until you came here you were considered a complainer and underachiever. Do you feel somewhat vindicated by all this?

COACH BOEHEIM: I don't think I'm a complainer, I think I was a whiner, I think, was the term. I don't mean to be. But on the sidelines I look at tapes of myself I realize that I do look that way. But I don't mean to do it. And I really always think that should be taken out of the judgment of you. It's like a movie. It's like a game. You shouldn't be injured personally on what you do during the game. Some of the things I say get me in trouble and I'll accept the blame for that. But image and all that, if you win 75 percent of your games it's not enough, I guess. I don't know what the answer is. What do we have to win, 77 or 78 or 80? We've upset a lot of people and we've been upset.

Q. Do you feel vindicated, though?

COACH BOEHEIM: No, I don't think about it. I know that it's there. I know that's what people think, but I've always felt that I've coached to the best of my ability and the guy that hired me, the Syracuse -- and the guy that's there now, have always wanted me to be a coach at Syracuse. And that's the only two people that I've ever felt that I had to answer to. Would I like people to think that I'm, whatever, good, whatever, I guess the answer to that frankly would be, yes. But I've said it before and I really would be very happy if people just would stop calling me a bad coach. They don't have to call me anything else, but if they stopped doing that I think I'd be more than happy. A good friend of mine, Paul Westhead said last year, don't worry about anything, in the 20 years ago you've beat the game. So I guess he's probably right.

Q. The Syracuse players haven't exactly overwhelmed the NBA, is there a possibility you haven't had the best talent in the country?

COACH BOEHEIM: I'm not going to answer that question. But I think your players have done well until the NBA. The very best talent we have is a guy named Derrick Coleman, who everybody down here doesn't have very much good to say about Derrick Coleman. Let me tell you, in college he won 113 games for us. He took us to the Final 2, the Final 8 and the Final 16 in his four years. He led the nation in rebounding. He's the all time leading rebounder in the nation. He got 19 rebounds against the team, Indiana, which is one of the better rebounding teams in the country year in and year out. He had 19 rebounds against North Carolina in the regional final. So when people say you defend him because he played for you, no, I defend him because he played and produced for us. He's been stuck on one of the losingest pro teams in the history of pro basketball. And he's the guy that's taking the blame for it. Because he said some things and done some things that maybe aren't right, I'm not going to argue with that. But what I'm telling you is he's one of the greatest players that's ever played in college basketball. And for me. He was on the Dream Team, so he must have accomplished something in the NBA. He's been at our hotel room, in our hotel rooms, the last two nights pumping our players up. So that's what I see. I see a guy that signs autographs for kids, talks to kids. Sometimes he doesn't talk to you people and sometimes he may have a case. But I see what he does for the kids in the hospital, going to the hospital with us. I see him going back to Detroit, buying a home in the city, building a park. I see him funding the church school that he played in, grew up in. I see him funding his -- kids he doesn't even know. You don't see any of that, because he's a bad guy to you. I bet you anything you want to bet that he'll be one of the great players in the NBA again. That's not because he played with Syracuse, that's my opinion. But Rony Seikaly has played well in the NBA, doesn't always say the right things. (Laughter) Of any guy that ever criticized me for not being tough enough, the guy I was the toughest on shouldn't do that. But Sherman Douglas played pretty good, for a guy that didn't have a scholarship coming out of high school. Louis Orr played pretty good in the NBA for a guy that wasn't recruited by a major school. Danny Schayes didn't start for us, played 14 years in the NBA. Billy Owens, pretty good player. You could look at any school in the country, great coaches that have had great guys come into their program that turned out to be very, very good college players that didn't make it in the NBA. And that is the college coaches fault? I don't think so. Two of the great players that ever played in the NBA Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, they didn't play for coaches that produced pros. They became great players. College coaches, programs, can help players. But we don't make great NBA players. We can help them. We can give them a place to play and we can show them what has to be done. One of the things we do at Syracuse is we do allow our players offensive freedom. I think it helps them go to the next level. We don't do it to help them get there. That's not my job. My job is to try to win games. But we also try to give our players freedom offensively and I think it's good for us. And I think it also is good for them.

Q. Asking a lot about your golf game, could you assess your playing career with Dave Bing?

COACH BOEHEIM: I took the ball out-of-bounds, I made sure I got down in an open position. I was open a lot because they were all doubling up on Dave, and I made a lot of layups and I was termed, called by every coach that I played against and every player I played with or against as a very smart player, one of the smartest players. And now I'm one of the dumbest coaches. (Laughter). I got dumb.

Q. Jim, can you talk a little bit about the difficulty of getting players to accept roles today and with that in mind the job Pitino has done taking so many talented players and fitting them into the system?

COACH BOEHEIM: It's difficult. Because every kid coming in thinks he should take 15, 16 shots a game. There's not a player in my team that doesn't think he can take 15 shots, every player on my team thinks he can. But it helps you when you have a senior who everyone knows is the best player. And it also helps when you have a senior who doesn't shoot unless he has to. I think those two things help our team. But as a coach, especially the hardest kind of basketball the way Kentucky plays, the way we play. But normally I laugh when people say a guy that coaches in a 50 point game and they pass the ball 20 times is a great coach. That's the easiest thing to do. The hardest thing to do is get your players to run and have freedom, but within that system to take quality shots. That's the hardest thing to do. The easiest thing to do is to run some pattern over and over again and get a certain shot. But you have to -- with today's players, they're all confident, they all think they can do it. You have to somehow get them to understand this is the way it's got to be. It's not easy, it's very difficult because kids come out of high schools and All Americans and listen to different people tell them that they should have the ball, they should shoot. And it's a very difficult part of coaching today.

Q. Coach, can you say a few words about J.B. and how he plays, his role for you?

COACH BOEHEIM: J.B. has been an important player for us. He's struggled lately, the center spot was thought to be our weakest position and statistically J.B. and Otis have had tremendous years, because they very seldom if ever play together. And J.B. has been very steady. And he's been pivotal in some key games.

Q. Jim, your guys have kind of taken on this underdog persona when, in fact, Kansas is probably the only game you were the clear underdog. Are you happy they carried this banner and hoping they can carry it one more night?

COACH BOEHEIM: I don't make a big deal out of that. I think the players -- they more have been talking about the fact they were picked so low in the preseason. I don't use that for motivation with players. I think they're using it. But I'm not going to discourage that. But as I said the other day, we had -- we were the favorite in most of our games. As I said many times, when the game starts none of that matters, none of that matters. The best team wins. Because you want to win doesn't mean you were going to win. If that was the case, nobody would ever lose.

Q. Coach, the other time you saw Rick Pitino rattled --

COACH BOEHEIM: What was that?

Q. What was the other time you saw Rick Pitino rattled?

COACH BOEHEIM: That was a long story. That story has been told a few times, that was on a recruiting trip, also.

Q. The first time they go to a major event, people say the event went by as a blur, they didn't have a chance to appreciate it. When they go back they appreciate it. But they want to enjoy and experience that phenomenon when they're here.

COACH BOEHEIM: I'm not sure I understand the question. But as far as when you come to the Final Four it was more of a blur. I was younger in '87, you just try to get through each day. It's a little bit easier the second time. It seems a little bit. But you just try -- I try coaching to just coach every game, like it's a very important game and try to block the other stuff out as much as possible.

Q. Jim, I was in this room, not this room, the one in New Orleans in '87 on this day, and you say you haven't tried to change your image. But I remember a different guy. There was no laughter in the room. There was no attempt at humor or levity that I remember. Could you just compare yourself to then and is that a fair question?

COACH BOEHEIM: That's probably a fair observation. Yeah, I've always had a sense of humor, maybe I just didn't show it. I remember once when Rick and I were going on vacation and Rick was then I think an assistant with the Knicks with Hubie, he's got a good sense of humor (laughter), and listen to this, Hubie said, you're going with Jim Boeheim, you're going with Jim on vacation? And Rick says, yeah, he's a fun guy. Hubie said, what? So, yeah, your observation is probably right. I was probably that way. And I can get that way. I'm sure the writers that cover us will tell you that. In the season I get focused in sometimes and I don't like to talk to people. It's not the writers I don't like to talk to. I don't like to talk to anybody. So when I get like that, it's not personal, but people take it personally. And I apologize for that, but that's just the way I am sometimes. I'm better, but I focus in on the game and I don't want to know about a whole lot of other things. When the season is over I'm a different person, anybody will tell you that, even writers. You just don't see that. And so -- but I would say that I was -- your observation is probably right. I try really not to analyze myself too much. I might not like what I see there.

Q. Jim, two part question, I heard you say earlier that coming to the tournament this year was like an unexpected present at Christmastime and it gave you a great deal of joy. But then I hear you had in some of the interviews you give out, when somebody is picked against your team you're quick to point that out.

COACH BOEHEIM: Yeah, I don't like if they pick against us. I don't like when they give us some respect, a little bit. But it's an unexpected feeling, unexpected experience, but it doesn't mean that I don't think that we should be respected. I don't think there's a contradiction there. Because something is unexpected doesn't mean that like in this case that we don't think that we shouldn't be here. We definitely think we should be here.

Q. Jim, you've been player and coach at the same place 34 years. Generally careers like that aren't going to happen like that. Can you reflect on your career in one place and maybe what other people who will never know what this is like, what will they be missing?

COACH BOEHEIM: It's special to me, and when you grow up in the area also, I think it makes it even more special. But I've always wanted to coach and it seems like I always wanted to coach at Syracuse. And I'm not -- I like the area. The story about Rick and Joanne and we were down in Bermuda and we all picked the one place we'd like to live if we could. And Rick picked -- I don't remember where Rick picked. San Francisco -- Joanne picked San Francisco and Rick picked someplace. And I said Syracuse. And they got up and walked away. It was an honest, stupid answer, I guess. But I've always believed that for me to be in a place that I know what's there. I've seen some examples of where people thought it was better to move on and the other side was better. And my experience from watching a few situations that that isn't true. I think generally in coaching if you can find a place, you're happy and it seems to be the right place, you're better off staying there. If you're not in the right place, then you move every few years, and that's a good way, too, that way has been used. But I got myself into a situation by accident. I was a walk-on at Syracuse. I was going to leave, I was in graduate school playing in the Eastern League, really wasn't thinking that much about coaching after I graduated and kind of worked in the back door into coaching. And then I almost left when Roy got the job at Tulane. A week earlier I might have been gone to the University of Rochester and been a better golfer. But things just worked differently and I stayed. And once you're in a place that you're comfortable with I think my way of feeling, my feeling is that Syracuse has been good to me. The people have been very good to me. If it was as tough a place on me as everybody has made it out to be, I wouldn't have stayed there for 34 years unless I'm just too stubborn to admit that I'm not going to give it up, and that may be partially true, too. But they supported us tremendously for all the years in our basketball program. And even though, like any coach, you develop complaints about different things where you are, I think I've looked beyond that, realized that this is the way right place for me to coach.

Q. Jim, a couple loose ends, one, where is your hometown in relation to Syracuse?

COACH BOEHEIM: 45 miles.

Q. In which direction?

COACH BOEHEIM: Toward Rochester, west.

Q. How had you precisely identified Rick Pitino as someone you wanted on your staff prior to --

COACH BOEHEIM: I'd seen him in the camps, I'd seen him play and I'd seen him in camps.

End of FastScripts....

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