Syracuse Basketball: Perhaps a Different Approach with Boeheim 2.0

Gene SiudutContributor IIIDecember 7, 2011

NEW YORK - MARCH 12:  Head Coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange reacts on the sideline during the game against the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 12, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Syracuse men’s Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim has found himself in quite a few headlines in recent months with the emergence of molestation allegations against his long-time (and now former) assistant coach, Bernie Fine.

Boeheim’s reaction was, at first, aggressively defiant. Then he cautiously apologized, but he was still unsure of the circumstances. Now, Boeheim seems completely contrite and accepting, albeit shell-shocked by what may have transpired under his watch since the early ‘80s.

Some in the media have called for his ouster, while most seem somewhat satisfied with the most recent phase of Boeheim’s stance on the matter and have forgiven his original statements.

An interesting piece of information that has come out is Boeheim’s tendency to stay out of his coaches’ personal lives. He expects them to do a job, act in a professional manner and not to do anything to embarrass the program. He expects the same from his players, and if you’ve ever seen one of his sideline conversations with players in his doghouse, you understand what I’m talking about.

As someone who’s been and will continue to be a big fan of Boeheim’s, I’d like to suggest that a different approach may be in order. I won’t presume to think I know better than a man who is 30 years my senior, but sometimes a different outlook can help in delicate situations.

Advice is worth what it costs to dispense, but I offer this:

I believe in striking while the iron is hot.

Boeheim is in a perfect position to have unity and togetherness and to get involved in the lives of everyone around him. He’s been very active, along with his wife Juli, in raising money for all sorts of charities, including those aimed at helped abused children and promoting cancer research, but lending your name is different than lending yourself.

I would hope that Coach Boeheim sees this terrible scandal as a moment to endear himself to those close to him and to bring himself closer to those who work and play for him. A change in outlook could make a world of difference for all involved, plus it’s probably prudent to avoid any major hiccups in the immediate future.

Perhaps a “Come to Jesus” meeting is in order, as it were. Ol’ Pop Boeheim can become the wise old sage we always knew he could be and his assistants and players can enjoy more of a warm relationship than a professional one.

After all, a coach’s job is not just to win games, but to also mold young men and prepare them for life outside of school.

Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse family are going through a tough time. It’s nothing compared to the angst the accusers of Bernie Fine are going through, but it is trying nonetheless. Sometimes crises can present unique opportunities. As the saying goes, when a door closes, a window opens.

Perhaps Boeheim 2.0 is waiting in the wings, all warm and fuzzy-like. Well, maybe not fuzzy, but definitely more involved.