Jim Boeheim got his Final Four haircut this morning before running the team through its paces in the Melo Center one last time before boarding a charter flight to Atlanta. His barber made sure the Hall of Fame coach knew that everyone of his customers has their own version of advice for the coach on how to take home the national title this weekend.
Coach Boeheim couldn't help but smile as he relayed the barber story this morning while describing his understanding for how much this community feels invested in the success of the Orange basketball team. There were a lot of smiles from the coach as he stood in his sharp orange and blue Nike Syracuse warmups.
He smiled talking about his oldest daughter joining the family in Atlanta. He smiled joking about missing out on a scheduled family trip to Disney World. He smiled about the Final Four creating an opportunity for past players to reunite in Atlanta.
I asked the coach about his top assistant, Mike Hopkins, getting passed over for the USC head coaching job. This loyal mentor said Hopkins is a ten times better coach than any other candidate. Then Boeheim added the misstep by USC would benefit Syracuse because Hopkins will be coaching here soon.
I couldn't let the 'soon' reference sit for long. Regurgitating the retirement question got Boeheim smiling again. He said no he was not going to retire even if they win it all in Atlanta Monday night. I asked, "How about Tuesday?" He laughed again saying, "No....now, Wednesday.."
After more than 50 years on campus Jim Boeheim is already enjoying this week like it could be his last. That's not to say it will be. If his team can stay as relaxed as he appears there's a good chance they'll be playing for the national title come Monday night.
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