Whether their team is playing or not, the big name coaches are here. Back in 2000, the Final Four was again at the RCA Dome. We had some big shows planned that weekend for Fox 59. We were going to utilize the outdoor suite level at Victory Field for the locale, it was awesome with the dome in the background. We needed some big time guests, then-Sports Director Eric Richey cashed in a favor to get then-Memphis coach John Calipari, we got Purdue-stud Brian Cardinal, who had just completed his playing career in West Lafayette as our player analyst. Our then-GM used to work in Syracuse, NY and offered up JIm Boeheim. Oh no, not Boeheim.
I was proud that the 2 colleges that I had credit from had prevented Boeheim from winning a national title, Indiana in 1987 and Kentucky in 1996.
I have to admit, I was wrong about Boeheim.
He turned out to be one of the coolest guys that we have ever had on our shows. He was fun, gracious and made it a point to talk to everybody involved in the live shot down at the Vic. He was good on the show too, I suppose the pressure is off if you aren't playing that weekend.
Boeheim is Syracuse Orange thru and thru. Nobody embodies that program like him. His story is something that Indiana basketball folks should respect, because if it happened in the Hoosier State they would be making a movie about it.
He walked on back in 1960's out of high school and was team capitain his senior year. That is a pic of him during his playing days at the top of the page. After playing a couple years of minor-league pro hoops, he came back to the 'Cuse and has been there ever since. He became Head Coach in 1976, and has become just one of 8 men to coach 1,000 games at 1 school since. He also has 27 NCAA tourney appearances and has recently been an assistant coach for USA basketball in the Olympics. Oh yeah, he has also battled and beaten prostate cancer too.
In 2003, I wasn't so upset when the Orange beat Kansas for the title. Boeheim deserved that for time served. This year, hopefully Butler can take care of business (and Cuse) in the Sweet 16. But if not, it won't be so bad to have Jim Boeheim's team playing in Lucas Oil Stadium next week.