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Jim Boeheim replaced as Syracuse head coach by Adrian Autry after 47 seasons

Jim Boeheim worked his last game as Syracuse's head men's basketball coach on Wednesday.

Hours after a 77-74 loss to Wake Forest in the ACC tournament, Syracuse announced that Boeheim will be replaced by associate head coach Adrian Autry. Chancellor Kent Syverud addressed the transition in a statement.

"There is no doubt in my mind that without Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Basketball would not be the powerhouse program it is today," says Chancellor Kent Syverud. "Jim has invested and dedicated the majority of his life to building this program, cultivating generations of student-athletes and representing his alma mater with pride and distinction. I extend my deep appreciation and gratitude to an alumnus who epitomizes what it means to be 'Forever Orange.'"

Boeheim was not quoted in the Syracuse news release announcing the move. He was asked about his potential retirement after Wednesday's game and repeatedly told reporters that the decision is up to Syracuse.

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"This is up to the university," Boeheim said when asked if he's retiring.

He was then asked if that means he wants to come back.

"I didn't say that," Boeheim responded.

"You're not saying you're retiring?" a reporter asked.

"I just said it, I don't know," Boeheim responded. " ... I said this is up to the university."

That didn't exactly clear things up. When pressed again at the end of the news conference, here's what Boeheim had to say:

"I said it's up to the university," Boeheim continued. "They have to make their decision, and it's up to them. I hope to come to a good agreement. That remains to be seen."

The university announced Jim Boeheim has coached his last game for Syracuse basketball after 47 years on the job. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The university announced Jim Boeheim has coached his last game for Syracuse basketball after 47 years on the job. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Boeheim built Syracuse into a power

Boeheim is an icon at Syracuse, having coached the team for 47 years. It's a span that saw the Orange play the entirety of their Big East existence from 1979-2013 and 10 seasons since a landscape-shattering move to the ACC. It's a span that includes 35 NCAA tournament appearances, five Final Fours and the 2003 national championship featuring Carmelo Anthony.

Boeheim outlasted coaching rivals and titans of the game in John Thompson, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski. He's 78 years old and was coming off his second straight season without an NCAA tournament bid and his third in the last four. He was asked about retirement for much of the season.

His 1,015 career wins rank second all-time in Division I basketball, behind only Krzyzewski's 1,202.

Boeheim went out in dramatic fashion. The Orange rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit only to watch senior Wake Forest guard Daivien Williamson win the game for the Demon Deacons with a last-second 3-pointer.

The loss ensured that Syracuse won't make a surprise run to an ACC tournament title, its only path this year to the NCAA tournament.

Who is Adrian Autry?

Autry, 51, played four seasons at Syracuse from 1990-94. After an overseas professional career as a player and a brief stint on the Virginia Tech sideline, Autry returned to Syracuse as an assistant coach in 2011. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2017 and will now take over as just the second head coach at his alma mater since 1976.

Adrian Autry will take over as Syracuse's new head coach after serving as an assistant for the team since 2011. He played for the school from 1990-94. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Adrian Autry will take over as Syracuse's new head coach after serving as an assistant for the team since 2011. He played for the school from 1990-94. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) (Rich Barnes via Getty Images)

ESPN's Pete Thamel reports that Autry has long been the choice at Syracuse to succeed Boeheim and that the decision to promote him was not finalized until Wednesday.

"We are fortunate to have someone of Coach Autry's talent, experience and character taking the reins of Syracuse basketball," athletic director John Wildhack said via Wednesday's announcement. "Not only is he an exceptional Xs and Os coach, he's also an outstanding recruiter, selfless mentor, dedicated community leader and a passionate Orange ambassador. I am thrilled to see what he will do with this program as its head coach."