Jim Boeheim intended for next year to be last as Syracuse coach, hadn't thought otherwise until Sunday

Updated: March 20, 2017, 10:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Jim Boeheim says he fully intended for next year to be his last as Syracuse's men's basketball coach, and that he never thought otherwise until Sunday.

That's when longtime assistant Mike Hopkins -- and Syracuse's coach-in-waiting -- left to become head coach at Washington.

Boeheim said at a news conference Monday he never tried to change the agreement he made with the university to retire after next season. Boeheim said Hopkins informed him of the Washington offer in a tearful meeting Saturday.

Boeheim, 72, said the first he'd heard about Hopkins' possible departure was when Hopkins came to him Saturday afternoon in tears to tell him about a great opportunity.

"He said, 'I've got a chance to go to Washington', and I was so happy because he was so happy; that was my only thought."

Boeheim went on to say that Hopkins is like a son to him, and that "anybody who thinks I wouldn't want him to get what he wants, does not know me or does not know anything."

Boeheim thought Hopkins would be the best fit to succeed him. The university agreed, signing him as the head coach designate.

"When [the previous] agreement was made between the chancellor and me and Mike Hopkins, I fully knew that next year would be my last year," Boeheim said. "I never, ever thought anything else -- ever.

"I never tried to change that in any way, shape, or form. I was thrilled that Mike Hopkins would be the coach here at the end of next year," Boeheim continued. "That was set in stone. It was confirmed by the chancellor. It was confirmed by [athletic director] John [Wildhack]. I didn't talk about it because I don't talk about that.

"I've never told anyone how many years I have left on my contract. I don't operate that way."

Wildhack said he quickly moved to keep Boeheim for the sake of continuity -- and that he received approval from the chancellor and board of trustees.

"Once I knew Mike was leaving, there was a head-coaching vacancy after next year," Wildhack said. "I wanted to get the best person to fill it, and decided Jim was the best person. That was my recommendation to the chancellor. I wanted to move fast, to make sure there was continuity in place.

"I met with Jim yesterday and asked him about the recommendation I wanted to make," Wildhack continued. "I asked him if he wanted to stay after next season and he said he was happy to do it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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