Jim Boeheim is having the most interesting year of his coaching life.
The Syracuse head coach has faced everything from suspension to low expectations and, somehow, has still managed to lead the Orange to an unexpected Final Four berth. Along the way, Boeheim has leaned on the support of his family and the group has been with the veteran every step of the way.
Of course, they’ll also be in Houston this weekend when Syracuse faces off against North Carolina, looking to keep this improbable run alive.
Read on to learn more about the Boeheim family, including his wife Juli and his children’s basketball careers:
1. Jim & His Wife Juli First Met at a Kentucky Derby Party
Jim and Juli Boeheim first met in 1994 at a Kentucky Derby Party and officially tied the knot in 1997.
Since their marriage, Juli, who was born and raised in Kentucky, has become one of the most visible faces in the entire Syracuse area. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Juli received her master’s degree from SU in child and family studies with a focus on infant and young children with disabilities.
This season, Juli has been her husband’s biggest fan, speaking publicly about the struggles the family faced while Jim was suspended and, now, their joy at a Final Four berth. She told CNY Central:
‘m really proud of him. I look at him and I’m amazed by him whether we were here or not, the man is incredible in ways that people will never know. He’s very intriguing even though I’ve been married to him for so long. Just one of the greatest perspectives on life. I’m really in awe of him. I mean he’s not perfect, believe me. And I do get on him about those things.
When they aren’t focused on basketball, Jim and Juli are also heavily involved in local charities and even founded the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation. According to the Foundation’s site it “strives to enrich the lives of kids in need within our Central New York community, as well, as, provide support for eliminating cancer through research and advocacy.”
2. He Was Previously Married to Elaine Boeheim
Boeheim and his first wife, Elaine, were married in 1976. Rick Pitino, Boeheim’s former assistant described the day, telling Philly.com:
He had this beautiful wedding in a big mansion. Elaine, his wife at the time, was going around being polite to everybody and nice to everybody, and we couldn’t find Jim for an hour and a half. Finally, we cut the cake and everybody was looking for him, and he was in a little back room watching a Mets game. So he’s come a long way from that Mets game.
The pair divorced in 1993 and the end of the relationship came at a particularly difficult time for the long-time coach. In the early 90’s the program was under NCAA investigation for recruiting violations after players allegedly received cash from boosters.
3. Boeheim & His Ex-Wife Have an Adopted Daughter, Elizabeth, Together
After her parents divorce, Elizabeth lived with her mother while she was growing up before earning her undergraduate degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She went on to earn her master’s degree from the University of Montana.
When Elizabeth completed her degree, she stayed in Montana and lived in Missoula for several years – it was a trip her father enjoyed taking. He told Syracuse.com in 2013:
I enjoy going to Missoula. We go up and go fishing. It’s a really nice place. I really like it. I like going to the Black Pearl restaurant. It’s pretty good. One of the better restaurants I’ve been to.
Although Elizabeth doesn’t spend much time in the spotlight now, her presence in Boeheim’s life has been undeniably important. In fact, shortly after she was adopted by Jim and Elaine, Elizabeth was credited with helping to calm her father down on the sidelines and change his in-game perspective.
4. His Daughter, Jamie Boeheim Was Taunted During A High School Basketball Game
It isn’t always easy when your last name is Boeheim and Jim’s daughter, Jamie, now knows that first-hand.
As a freshman at Jamesville-DeWitt High School in 2015, Jamie was on the receiving end of jeers from opposing fans when her team faced off against Albertus Magnus High School in the New York State playoffs. The fans cahnged “Where’s the cheater?” at the high schooler as her team cruised to a victory.
Jamie told Syracuse.com: “I just try and block out everything. I’m a Boeheim so I’m expecting some, but I just ignore it.”
Albertus Magnus High School principal Joseph T. Troy sent a formal letter of apology to the Boeheim and her teammates, citing the “inappropriate remarks at the end of our game.”
5. Boeheim’s Sons Also Play For Jamesville-DeWitt High School
The Boeheim name has become synonymous with basketball success and now the Syracuse coach’s sons are making sure that trend continues.
Jimmy Boeheim, a 6-foot-5 senior, grabbed a series of headlines in December 2015 when he racked up a career-best 39 points for Jamesville-DeWitt High School. He connected on 16 field goals as the Red Raiders cruised to a 79-54 victory against Norwich. Meanwhile, in the same game, Jack “Buddy” Boeheim, chipped in 14 points of his own as well.
The Boeheims aren’t the only Syracuse kids playing at J-D. Adrian Autry, the son of an Orange assistant and Michael Hopkins, the son of long-time assistant Mike Hopkins, are also standouts on the hardwood.