Ryan Blackwell helps take a trip down memory lane with Jim Boeheim

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – 47 years ago on Apr. 3, 1976, Jim Boeheim was hired to be the head coach of the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team. And over the years, there’s been a lot to take in.

Boeheim leaves behind one of the most storied legacies in college basketball history. He won 1,116 games at Syracuse. That resulted in 35 trips to the NCAA, 5 Final Fours, and 1 win, which sits on its own pedestal.

And you couldn’t tell the story of Jim Boeheim without mentioning the 2-3 zon

“He just had a style that was all to himself. When you think about the 2-3 zone in college basketball you think about Jim Boeheim and Syracuse,” said Ryan Blackwell, who played for Boeheim.

But Boeheim’s legacy was more than just the accomplishments on the court that is now named after him. He was on the coaching staff for Team USA Olympic basketball, and was fundamental in starting the Big East Conference.

“He was part of that. Dave Gavitt and those guys back in the day. He helped build that brand of basketball, the Big East from what it was, he was a pioneer from that,” said Blackwell.

Of course, there were plenty of antics too. In his early days on the Hill, Boeheim’s Orange and the late John Thompson’s Georgetown Hoyas formed a bitter rivalry.

But behind all of the brashness, Boeheim’s respect for his players was also unmatched.

“I came to Syracuse because of him. He taught us how to be tough, really. I appreciated his style. It was different than anybody I’d ever played for,” said Blackwell.

Perhaps no one was as synonymous with a University as Jim Boeheim is with Syracuse. Even though he won’t be coaching the Orange any more, he is forever Orange.