I received a copy of Bleeding Orange by Jim Boeheim for review from the publisher. You know my feelings about sports, but what you may not know is that my coworker, Mitch Friedmann, went to Syracuse* and I knew that reading this book would make him incredibly happy. So here is my coworker Mitch in his book blogging debut:
“I bleed orange.
It is not because I was born in Baltimore and I am a lifelong Oriole fan.
It is because I am a proud graduate of Syracuse University.
So I went into reading Jim Boeheim’s autobiography, “Bleeding Orange” written with long time Sports Illustrated write Jack McCallum, with a certain amount of bias.
I have found that Jim Boeheim fans fall into two distinct categories. Those who cannot stand him and think he is a whiner, a good recruiter and bad coach. Then there are those that worship the long-time Syracuse men’s basketball coach. I fall into the latter. However, I think those who fall into the first category would, after reading the book, find a new appreciation for the coach and what he has achieved over the last half century in Central New York.
The book begins with Boeheim’s humble up bringing in Lyon New York, the son of a mortician. How he walked onto the Syracuse basketball team in the mid-60’s and played alongside the great Dave Bing. Boeheim is frank about his playing ability, whether comparing himself to the Hall of Famer Bing or his fellow opponents. The story about how he nearly became the head coach at the University of Rochester before being hired at Syracuse is fairly well known.
However, the part that will interest fans the most is Boeheim’s interactions with his players and fellow coaches while at Syracuse. From his first teams with Roosevelt Bouie and Louis Orr to Leo Rautins to Pearl to Derrick Coleman to Carmelo. How he recruited these great players and what they were like on and off the court. It is clear which are his favorite players. While several pages are devoted to Gerry McNamara, there is little about other well-known Syracuse greats like Rafael Addison. Although he does admit he wished he could have done more with one of my favorite players of all time, Herman “Helicopter” Harried.
Boeheim does address the Bernie Fine scandal, (The Syracuse assistant coach was fired following sex abuse allegations. Fine was never charged and one of his accusers has since recanted his story), and some of the other off the court problems his players have faced over the years.
Jim Boeheim has accomplished a tremendous amount in his years on the bench.
“Bleeding Orange” does a great job of capturing the man that is Jim Boeheim and the spirit of Syracuse basketball.
Syracuse Class of ‘90”
* = unless you know Mitch, in which case, you DO know it. His personalized license plate even tells you that he went to Syracuse.
Thanks, Mitch! :) I don’t get many sports book pitches, but I will forward them all to you. :)