Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim has no intention of quitting, a source with knowledge said, despite an investigation into child molestation
charges against longtime assistant Bernie Fine and growing calls for his resignation.
"He's not going to resign," said the source. "He's like (UConn's Jim) Calhoun -- old warriors. He'll get through this."
University spokesperson Kevin Quinn declined to comment to ESPN.com about whether Boeheim's job security was at stake following the
firing of Fine, who has been accused of
molestation by three men.
A source familiar with the situation said
Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins plans on succeeding Boeheim as head coach whenever Boeheim steps aside as Orange coach, due to an "iron-clad contract" that was revamped and approved by the board of trustees two years ago.
Hopkins was first tabbed as Boeheim's head coach designate in 2007. But, according to the source, the contract had "holes in it." But after Hopkins flirted with leaving the Orange two years ago, and was interviewed by Charlotte, the contract was restructured.
The pact had to be approved by the chancellor and the board of trustees, according to the source. Hopkins, who played for Boeheim at Syracuse from 1989 to 1993, has been the top assistant under Boeheim for the last five years, even though Fine held the title associate head coach. The source said that Fine was promoted but not given a raise at the time and remained bitter about the Hopkins promotion.
A source said Boeheim called a rare off-day staff meeting Sunday after ESPN's Outside the Lines reported on a taped conversation between Fine's wife, Laurie, and Fine's first accuser, former ball boy Bobby Davis, that indicated Laurie Fine had worries that her husband had sexually molested Davis in their home, but said she felt powerless to stop the alleged abuse. The purpose of the meeting was to scout upcoming opponents and to bring players together instead of them being off on their own with news of the scandal breaking.
Hopkins coached alongside Fine, who recruited him as a player, but according to a source, grew apart from Fine after he got the nod to succeed Boeheim over Fine. Fine was demoted and taken off the road when Hopkins and Troy Weaver, now the assistant general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder, were the primary recruiting assistants. That's when the Orange signed Carmelo Anthony, Gerry McNamara, Craig Forth and Billy Edelin and changed the fortunes of what had become a middling program, winning the NCAA title in 2003.
According to the source, Fine and Hopkins' coaching relationship has not been the same since.
Getting a secure contract to ultimately succeed Boeheim -- whenever that occurs -- was meant to assure recruits that the program will have continuity. The source said that the staff is attempting to assure recruits not to panic and that Hopkins will be the next coach, no matter what or when it occurs.
As criticism swirled Monday about Boeheim's initial support of Fine and his verbal attacks on the accusers, the coach kept a low profile, seeking refuge in his office on the second floor of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center.
Boeheim, who had been sharply critical of the accusers, has softened his stance 10 days after an impassioned defense of Fine, who spent 35 seasons on the bench next to Boeheim and was fired Sunday.
The Rev. Robert Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery, a group that supports victims of sexual abuse, said the dismissal of Bernie Fine was appropriate but didn't go far enough.
"I think Jim Boeheim should be fired or resign as well," Hoatson said Monday. "These boys were members of the basketball program. Jim Boeheim's responsibility is to oversee that program, and the children were not safe on his watch."
As supporters of victims of sex abuse called for Boeheim to be fired, university trustees were largely silent.
"I don't have anything to say about this," said trustee H. Douglas Barclay, who earned his law degree from Syracuse in 1961 and was a New York state senator for 20 years.
Reached in Naples, Fla., trustee Marvin Lender, class of 1963, referred all calls to Chancellor Nancy Cantor.
"It's a policy, and I want to adhere to it," he said.
When the allegations against Fine first became public Nov. 17, Boeheim adamantly defended his longtime assistant and attacked the accusers, saying he suspected they were trying to get money.
"It is a bunch of a thousand lies that he has told," Boeheim told ESPN, referring to Davis. "You don't think it is a little funny that his cousin (relative) is coming forward?"
Those comments prompted a swift backlash from victims' advocates, who were outraged by Boeheim's attitude.
Ten days later, his stance had changed considerably.
In a statement released Sunday night after Fine's firing, Boeheim expressed regret for his initial statements that might have been "insensitive to victims of abuse."
"What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found," Boeheim said in a statement released by the school. "I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse."
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.