That’s exactly what the borderline relic Boeheim has done. The Lyons, New York native played his ball at Syracuse as a walk-on back in the 1960s. As a senior captain, he led the Orange to just their second-ever NCAA Tournament.
Stints as a graduate assistant and assistant coach led him to the head coaching position in 1976. In the 45 years since, he’s guided the Orange to a national championship, five Final Four berths, five Big East Tournament championships and more than 1,000 wins (if you count the 101 vacated by the NCAA in 2015).
The 76-year-old is now coaching his son Buddy Boeheim in the 2021 Men’s NCAA Tournament on the tail-end of what has become a full-circle career. Buddy’s rise has made many fans ask who the First Lady of Syracuse athletics is.
Who is Jim Boeheim’s Wife Juli Boeheim?
Jim Boeheim is married to Juli Greene Boeheim, who at 55 is more than 20 years younger than her husband. She was reportedly born in Miami, Florida, but was raised in Kentucky.
The two didn’t meet on the court like one would expect. It was the horse racing track where they first crossed paths.
According to a Sports Illustrated article, the two met at a Kentucky Derby party in Lexington in 1994. But what caught Juli’s attention considering he was nearly 20 years older?
“I saw someone who is bright and funny and well-read and mature and realistic. But I see someone who can be playful, too,” she told Sports Illustrated.
Juli officially became the wife of Jim Boeheim when they wedded in October 1997. The College Basketball Hall of Fame member would win a national championship several years later in ’03 with future NBA superstar Carmelo Anthony.
Besides being a basketball mother and wife, Juli also helps run the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, which “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,” according to the foundation’s website.
Juli graduated from the University of Kentucky and, after moving to Syracuse to be with Jim, earned a Master’s degree in child and family studies from the school her hubby coaches at.
Jim Boeheim’s First Wife & Divorce
Jim Boeheim was previously married to Elaine Boeheim from 1976-94.
According to The Daily Orange, their relationship began to take a turn for the worse around the same time his program was under NCAA investigation for recruiting violations in the early 1990s. The NCAA placed the program on a two-year probation and banned it from the 1993 NCAA Tournament.
“As all that was happening, Boeheim was experiencing difficulty with his first wife, Elaine, with whom he had his first child, Elizabeth, now a junior at Colby College in Maine,” The Daily Orange wrote 15 years ago. “Jim and Elaine eventually divorced in 1993. Boeheim’s longtime best friend, Tony Santelli, said the general public knew Boeheim’s every move was especially hard for a reclusive man from a small town.”
A divorce. Banned from the NCAA Tournament. Meeting Juli the following year must have been one of the greatest things to happen to Jim’s personal life.
Jim Boeheim’s Children
Jim has three children with Juli Boehiem, all of which play college basketball.
Buddy Boeheim, whose real name is Jackson, is the 6-foot-6 star of the 2021 Syracuse men’s basketball team social media fell in love with. The team’s leading scorer posted 30 points against San Diego State in the first round and 25 against West Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to send the Orange to the Sweet 16. He came to the ‘Cuse a three-star recruit out of high school.
Older son Jimmy Boeheim played his hoops at Cornell University. He averaged 16.7 points per game as a forward during the 2019-20 season, but this year’s campaign was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
When Cornell and Syracuse played each other in 2018, Juli wore a shirt that read, “Battle of the Boeheims.” The Orange won. Jimmy scored nine points. Buddy hit one three-pointer.
Jim also has a daughter named Elizabeth Boeheim whom he adopted with his ex-wife Elaine. According to The Daily Orange, the 35-year-old Elizabeth lives in Montana and previously studied at Colby College in Maine and the University of Montana.
Even though she doesn’t see her father often, she says they’ve always had a strong bond.
“Of course he’s an incredible coach who has built a really successful career that stands out among other greats,” Elizabeth told The Daily Orange. “He’s a thoughtful person. He’s smart. He pays attention to the world and he’s a really good father. He cares more about his kids than anything else. I’m glad he’s my dad.”
The ACC college basketball coach has been a staple in Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome since it opened in 1980 and his net worth is evidence of his success.
Without Jim Boeheim, Syracuse basketball wouldn’t be the same. And without Juli and his children, he wouldn’t be the man he is.