Commentary

Boeheim is the definition of loyalty

Updated: December 14, 2012, 9:17 AM ET
By Dick Vitale

If you looked up the word loyalty in the dictionary, you might see a picture of Jim Boeheim right next to it.

Think about it, loyalty and his love for the Syracuse Orange go hand in hand. You hear about Tommy Lasorda bleeding Dodger Blue; the coach of the Orange has poured his heart into that school, bleeding Syracuse Orange for a half-century.

[+] EnlargeJim Boeheim
Rich Barnes/USA TODAY SportsJim Boeheim has helped Syracuse crack the top five among college basketball's all-time winningest programs.

He started as a walk-on in 1962 and later became a backcourt mate of legend David Bing. Boeheim became part of Syracuse coaching history back in 1969 as a graduate assistant, hired by then-coach Roy Danforth. Boeheim was soon promoted to a full-time assistant before eventually being named Danforth's replacement as head coach back in 1976. It has been unbelievable success since.

The numbers blow you away. He enters this weekend's game against Canisius with 898 career W's. With a victory there, he would go for milestone win No. 900 against my Titans, the University of Detroit, next week.

Boeheim has coached 1,202 games so far. Only one person has coached more games at one school, the legendary Jim Phelan at Mount St. Mary's. It is amazing to think that the Syracuse coach has made 35 postseason appearances, with 29 of those journeys to the Big Dance. I know he has plenty of NCAA watches, baby!

Who would have ever thought that 50 years after taking the court as a walk-on, he would be a Hall of Famer now approaching that select company in the 900 club. Only Mike Krzyzewski and The General, Robert Montgomery Knight, are there in Division I history.

Here comes Jimmy Boeheim, ready to join that rarefied air in coaching. He already has the record for most 20-win seasons, having won 20-plus games in a season 34 different times. Boeheim has won over 75 percent of his games.

Then there was 2003. It was magical as Carmelo Anthony, Gerry McNamara & Co. cut down the nets in New Orleans. Boeheim celebrated a national championship, putting him in a select group of college basketball winners!

Boeheim is terrific both on and off the court. Get him away from the arena and he is a winner in the game of life, helping with so many charities. Boeheim is a super guy who is also very funny and a great human being.

He deserves all of the success that has come his way. Boeheim is truly dedicated and determined to have success at his alma mater.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.