Jim Boeheim's 900th win had much more fanfare than his 903rd. But the 903rd win was the more significant number. It moved the Syracuse head coach past Bobby Knight into second place on the NCAA career wins list.
"I'm proud to be able to do that," Boeheim admitted. "I'm happy to get it done. I didn't want to think about it anymore. I was hoping we could do it right away. As quickly as possible. I was hoping it was going to be a little quicker. I'm glad we got it done fairly quickly. I've been thinking a lot about this the last few days. I think the article in the USA Today, made me think about this a little bit. I don't know the guy, I've never met him. But it was a great piece I thought.
"To me, this game is not about numbers. It really isn't. It's not about how many points you score or how many assists you get. It's about what you do and what your team does. To me the numbers are not the story. The story is the players I've been able to coach, the coaches I've worked with, and the coaches I've competed against all these years. So many great teams. It's those games and those battles that I think about."
One of only three coaches in NCAA history with 900 wins, he is the only one to do it at one school. That is remarkable in its own right. From the battles with Georgetown in the 80's, to the six overtime game, to the 2003 National Championship, Boeheim is entrenched in Syracuse lore.
"It means a lot to be part of it," junior forward C.J. Fair said. "I know when I leave here I'm going to be part of history. Coach is going to continue to win and for him to pass coach Knight tonight, it means a lot to me knowing I was able to help him do that."
Boeheim has had a lot of great players over the years, but that does not take away from his legacy. In his storied career, he has not had a single losing season. Something the greats such as Mike Krzyzewski, John Wooden, Bobby Knight, and others cannot claim.
"It's definitely great," freshman forward Jerami Grant said. "It's amazing to be a part of something like that. It's incredible for a coach to have that many wins. He's legendary and he's just a great coach."
For all of the talk of playing more man, too few Final Fours, and other criticisms that have come Boeheim's way, he has remained loyal to his system and his players. It is one of the many traits that has made him one of the game's all time greats.