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Jim Boeheim is Mr. Syracuse

Jim Boeheim is Mr. Syracuse

If you could live any place in the world, where would you choose? Miami, Los Angeles, London, Sydney?

How about Syracuse?

We know, winter seems to last for 8 months out of the year here in Central New York. So who in their right mind would say that Syracuse is the only place that they want to live for the rest of their life?

Only one man would: Jim Boeheim. Mr. Syracuse.

There is the famous story, where Jim Boeheim was sitting on the beach in Hawaii with his assistant coach at time and now Hall of Famer, Rick Pitino. They were talking about great places to live and “if you could live anywhere, where would it be?” Pitino picked San Francisco and Boeheim chose Syracuse, as he said “Hawaii was just Syracuse in July.”

Boeheim has lived in Central New York since 1962 when he enrolled in Syracuse University and walked on to the freshman basketball team.  The highlights are well known; shared back court time with NBA Hall of Famer Dave Bing,  a two-year stint of pro basketball in Scranton, Pennsylvania, then back to Syracuse to be a graduate and assistant coach before taking over as head coach in 1976.

Now in his 39th season as Head Coach for the Syracuse University Men’s Basketball team and his 52nd year living in the city, he’s absolutely sure he couldn’t live anywhere else.

Not that he couldn’t have left Syracuse. Juli Boeheim, his wife of 17 years, says that he never really had a solid offer because a lot of times you “have to pursue those bigger jobs like the NBA. He never wholeheartedly pursued anything. But I’m sure if he wanted to go somewhere else, he could’ve gotten almost any basketball job he wanted.”

Juli Boeheim thinks the reason that her husband has remained so loyal to Syracuse is because of the people in the community.

“Things get sweeter with time. So I think the support of the community on the basketball team has impacted him. Seeing all those people come to the Dome in below-zero degree weather and snowy roads year after year has contributed to his love for Syracuse that runs so deep,” Juli Boeheim says.

Jim Boeheim is a man of character and is committed to giving back to the city that has given so much to him. This commitment to giving back is why he and his wife started the Jim and Juli Boehiem Foundation, which has recently raised over $400,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Syracuse. In total, the Foundation has raised millions of dollars for the youth of Syracuse and Central New York. Jim Boeheim says that he realized he had a great opportunity to make an impact on the CNY community because of the huge local support of SU Basketball.

“Once you know that the people in the area support your team, you start to think of how you can give back to the community that you’re in. The best way to try and help is with the kids because they are the ones who are going to be the future of the city, so let’s try and create a foundation that helps kids have a chance to be more successful in a small way.”

Boeheim also decided to give back to his community by investing in the local company, Hoffman Hotdogs. However, he says that the investment was never actually a business decision made with the potential of high returns. Rather, this was an “investment for the local community,” Boeheim says. For most, it probably would seem ludicrous to invest in something, not for a financial gain, but rather to show your support in a company started within the Syracuse community.

As students, faculty, coaches, and players come and go over the years, one thing that continues to be consistent year after year at Syracuse University, is that Jim Boeheim is still here coaching and will most likely be here in this city for the rest of his life. “Syracuse has everything you need to be happy. To be where you’re comfortable and in a good place with good people, that’s all very important to me,” he says.

Or as Juli puts it, “Jim Boeheim is Syracuse, and Syracuse is him.”

About The Author

Peter Corasaniti

I'm just a kid living the dream who has the desire, the passion and the dedication that will drive me toward success.


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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