Nearly 60 years ago, Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73 first arrived on the Syracuse University campus as an undergraduate student and walk-on with the men’s basketball team. Little did he know that six decades later, he’d be one of college basketball’s winningest head coaches, a national champion, a Hall of Famer and one of the most prominent alumni in Syracuse University history. Today, as his 47th season coaching his alma mater comes to an end, so too does his storied career at Syracuse University. Associate Head Coach Adrian Autry ’94, one of Boeheim’s former players and longtime assistant, has been named the program’s next head coach.
“There is no doubt in my mind that without Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Basketball would not be the powerhouse program it is today,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “Jim has invested and dedicated the majority of his life to building this program, cultivating generations of student-athletes and representing his alma mater with pride and distinction. I extend my deep appreciation and gratitude to an alumnus who epitomizes what it means to be ‘Forever Orange.'”
In addition to the national title he and the 2003 team brought home during his 47 years as Syracuse’s head coach, the Orange has made 35 trips to the NCAA Tournament, including Final Four appearances in 1987, 1996, 2003, 2013 and 2016. Boeheim, a four-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year, has been honored as National Association of Basketball Coaches District II Coach of the Year 10 times and United States Basketball Writers Association District II Coach of the Year on four occasions.
“I have spent my entire career surrounded by the biggest and best names in professional and intercollegiate athletics. Few people are on the same playing field as Coach Boeheim,” says John Wildhack ’80, director of athletics. “Jim Boeheim is synonymous with excellence, grit and determination. Jim is a rare breed of coach, building a program that is among the best in college basketball for nearly five decades. I am incredibly grateful for what he has done for Syracuse Basketball, Syracuse Athletics and Syracuse University as a whole.”
Autry, a Syracuse alumnus whose family bleeds Orange, played for Boeheim from 1990-94 and went on to a successful professional career, playing primarily in European leagues, as well as in the United States Basketball League (USBL). He began his coaching career in 2006 when he was hired as associate head coach at Bishop Ireton Catholic High School (Virginia) and went on to coach powerhouse AAU programs. Autry moved into the collegiate ranks in 2008 when he was hired by then-head coach Seth Greenburg as director of basketball operations at Virginia Tech. He was later promoted to an assistant coach post. He was named assistant coach at Syracuse prior to the 2011-12 season and was promoted to associate head coach in March 2017.
“There have been very few stronger influential forces in my life than Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim. They have both played such important roles and without either of them, I am certain I would not have this incredible opportunity before me,” says Autry. “I have spent much of my time in the game of basketball learning from Jim and am so grateful to him for preparing me to carry on the winning tradition that is Orange Basketball. It’s hard to imagine a world without him on the bench, but together with our coaches, student-athletes and fans, we will build on decades of success as a winning program.”
“It’s rare that a program has as deep of a coaching bench as we do here at Syracuse,” says Wildhack. “We are fortunate to have someone of Coach Autry’s talent, experience and character taking the reins of Syracuse basketball. Not only is he an exceptional Xs and Os coach, he’s also an outstanding recruiter, selfless mentor, dedicated community leader and a passionate Orange ambassador. I am thrilled to see what he will do with this program as its head coach.”
At Syracuse, Autry has worked closely with eventual NBA draft picks Jerami Grant, Tyler Ennis, Oshae Brissett, Tyler Lydon and Chris McCullough. Grant has enjoyed tremendous success in the NBA, while Lydon, McCullough and additional Autry protégés C.J. Fair and Andrew White have excelled in the NBA G-League. Autry coaches the Syracuse forwards and recruits all positions for the Orange. Syracuse has played in the NCAA Tournament in seven of his 12 campaigns as an assistant, including Final Four trips in 2013 and 2016. In November 2016, Autry was honored as a Syracuse LetterWinner of Distinction and in 2017 he received the prestigious Vic Hanson Award from the Hardwood Club.
Adrian and his wife, Andrea, reside in Jamesville with their children Trey and Nina. His daughter, Aliyah, is a recent graduated from Syracuse in 2017 and his son, Adrian Jr., earned his degree from the University in 2019.
COURTESY SYRACUSE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS