Men's Basketball

Jim Boeheim addresses Syracuse’s search for a third assistant coach

Jes Sheldon | Staff Photographer

Who will be Syracuse’s third assistant coach? Jim Boeheim isn’t worried.

With the dust settling after Mike Hopkins’ departure for Washington and Jim Boeheim’s contract extension, the next step for Syracuse is to hire a third assistant coach to replace Hopkins on its coaching staff.

Boeheim, the Orange’s 41-year head coach, said he’s not worried about filling Hopkins’ void because of his confidence in SU’s two other assistants, Adrian Autry and Gerry McNamara. Still, Hopkins was Boeheim’s longest-tenured assistant and a key to Syracuse’s recruiting efforts.

“He knew a lot of ins and outs of things. Contacts (for recruits), just his attitude, what he brought was great,” Boeheim said of what Hopkins provided SU. “It’ll be tough (to replace) so we’re going to look for an experienced guy that can duplicate some of those things if he can.”

Hopkins, who had been an assistant with Syracuse for 22 years, worked with the Orange’s centers while Autry primarily works with the forwards, and McNamara with guards. Both Autry and McNamara were hired as assistants in 2011, but Autry previously worked as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech. Without a head coach-designate, Syracuse promoted Autry to associate head coach because of his experience over McNamara. Boeheim said it was “an easy decision.”

While Boeheim said “ideally” he hires someone to work with the centers, he’s open to bumping someone to that spot to best fit all three. Boeheim mentioned how both himself and Hopkins started as assistant coaches working with guards before moving to big men. He added that because of Autry and McNamara’s proven skills as recruiters, “we probably don’t need a great recruiter.”

Following Hopkins accepting the head coaching job at Washington, it was important to Boeheim to retain both Autry and McNamara with the Orange to keep continuity in the program and with recruits. He said both assistants received offers from other schools since Saturday. Neither planned to leave with Hopkins, Boeheim said. The UW coaching staff will be filled by former Syracuse player Jason Hart, Tim O’Toole and Will Conroy, who was already with the Huskies, according to The Seattle Times.

Between Boeheim, Hopkins, Autry and McNamara, Syracuse’s staff consisted entirely of SU alumni. But Boeheim said having previous ties to the program isn’t a prerequisite for the new assistant while mentioning prior assistants who didn’t fit that criteria either.

“Never has. We try to get the best guy. If he happens to be a Syracuse guy, that’s great,” Boeheim said. “He doesn’t have to be. Troy Weaver was a great assistant coach as was Rob Murphy. I could name a few others. We will get the best we can get for this position.”

Boeheim said he’s not in a rush to hire the new assistant, saying it could happen either “tomorrow” or within the next two weeks.

Boeheim plans on calling whomever he wants to hire and seeing if they’re interested rather than interviewing candidates.

“I learned a long time ago you bring three people in for an interview and you like all three, then how do you decide?” Boeheim said. “So I don’t like to confuse myself.”

Compared to earlier in his career, Boeheim said each assistant talks to their respective position groups more during practices and games. But in terms of making in-game decisions and running practice, nothing has changed in his head coaching career.

Boeheim didn’t single any candidates he has in mind, but said he thinks Syracuse is in a good position no matter who he hires.

“We will get somebody else in here,” Boeheim said. “We will hire a very good assistant coach and move forward.”

Senior Staff Writer Connor Grossman contributed reporting to this article.

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