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Jim Boeheim leaves door open to continue coaching, with news of John Wildhack hire

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim left open the possibility that the hire of ESPN executive, Orange alumnus and good friend John Wildhack as athletic director Wednesday could mean he coaches beyond his set retirement after the 2017-18 season.

"I don't know,'' said the Hall of Fame men's basketball coach, who took the Orange on a surprising run to the Final Four last April. "I'm not sure. For now, we're comfortable moving forward as we are. I'm looking forward to a great year. I'm going to be here this year and next year so all the guys we're recruiting we're going to coach. The staff is going to be consistent. That's where we are right now.''

Boeheim and the school announced on March 18, 2015, that he would coach three more seasons. The Orange self-imposed a postseason ban in 2015, and Boeheim had to serve a nine-game suspension this past season. The team was 4-5 during his absence under head coach designate Mike Hopkins.

Boeheim returned and the Orange ultimately earned an NCAA tournament berth, finishing 9-9 in the ACC. Syracuse upset Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 and Virginia in the Elite Eight to get to the Final Four, where the Orange lost to North Carolina in the national semifinal in Houston.

Boeheim said he found out about Wildhack's hire 10 minutes before it was announced Wednesday and that he's as surprised as everyone else.

"I think it's the greatest thing for us,'' Boeheim said. "He knows the business on all levels. He's a Syracuse guy. I just think he's so qualified and managed so many people in sports. It's perfect. Sometimes you get a manager who hasn't been in sports and a sports guy who hasn't managed. You get both things here. The Syracuse connection is an added benefit.''

Wildhack replaces Mark Coyle, who abruptly left Syracuse after less than a year on the job to be the athletic director at Minnesota.

"I'm thrilled to have [Wildhack] back here,'' Boeheim said.

Boeheim will finish out his term as an assistant coach on the USA men's national team next month at the Rio Olympics. He has been an assistant to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for the past two Olympic gold-medal wins in Beijing and London.

Boeheim has said repeatedly that he believes the Orange can have another solid year in 2016-17 and is noncommittal on his future. The 71-year old Boeheim has been the head coach at his alma mater since 1976.

"Well you never know what could happen,'' Boeheim said. "I'm just focused in on getting ready for this year and doing good things in offseason. We're still in hot pursuit of other guys help us. We're in good position for this year.''

Boeheim said Wildhack will stabilize the athletic department. He said it's in as good a position as it has ever been, especially after both men's and women's basketball programs went to the Final Four. He also said Wildhack will help in getting the Carrier Dome renovated.

"We're in a great, great position right now,'' said Boeheim. "The best position we've been in for a long time.''