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5 Things to Know About New Men’s Basketball Coach Adrian Autry ’94
Adrian Autry ’94 built his credentials as a player and coach under his mentor, Hall of Fame head coach and colleague Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73. Autry is now set to make his own mark as the eighth head coach of the Syracuse University men’s basketball program.
“Thirty-three years ago, I arrived at Syracuse University a young man from Harlem, New York. I always say that I was the easiest McDonald’s All-American you ever had to recruit. From day one, Coach took me under his wing, as a player and most recently as a coach,” Autry said during last week’s press conference, as he was officially introduced as the new head coach. “It has been an honor to play for and coach with you. I’m excited to begin this next chapter.”
During the press conference, Orange fans got to know a bit more about the four-year letterwinner and a hint at what they might expect as Autry continues the proud legacy of Syracuse men’s basketball.
1. Vision for the Program
Autry was quick to state he has no plans to reinvent a program that entered the 2022-23 season as the sixth-winningest program in the NCAA.
“I am a new voice, a new face with new ideas. But the standards that have helped build this program will not change,” Autry said.
“We want to be versatile on both ends of the floor. We want to be aggressive and get up and down [the court]. Just being able to adapt and for right now, that’s where we’re starting. As we go, we’ll adapt to the personnel we have. But for right now, the one thing we want to do is play with some space and pace and get up and down the court.”
2. Passing the Torch
Autry joined Boeheim’s staff as an assistant head coach in 2011 before being promoted to associate head coach in March 2017. He succeeds Boeheim, who amassed a career record of 1,015-441 and guided the Orange to the 2003 national championship, five Final Four appearances, 19 Sweet 16 berths and 35 trips to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament during his tenure.
Autry credited Boeheim for instilling in him a desire to “never lower your standards for your team and players. And the consistency. … Come in and go after it every day,” Autry said.
Boeheim gave Autry his full endorsement.
“I’ve known Adrian Autry since he was 16 years old. He scored 30 points in New York City against [future NBA player] Kenny Anderson and I said ‘that’s a guy we need to get to come to Syracuse.’ A few years ago, we needed to get him to come back [to be on the staff] and he came back. He’s a great coach. Adrian Autry can coach. He knows how to coach. There will be no problem coaching going forward. None. … Syracuse basketball is being left in the best of hands,” he said.
3. There’s Nowhere Like the JMA Wireless Dome
Among the many reasons why this position appeals to Autry are the home court advantage provided by the tremendous support from Orange fans and the JMA Wireless Dome—aka the Loud House, which can hold as many as 35,642 fans—and the fact that Syracuse is one of the most accomplished college basketball programs in the country.
“To the fans, that make up Orange Nation, the ones who fill up the seats in the Loud House, the ones who cheered me on as a player, the ones who support this program whether we’re winning or losing, thank you,” Autry said. “Representing the Orange is special because of you. There is nowhere else in America like the Dome.”
4. 2-3 or Not 2-3?
When Autry was asked whether he will continue to have his team play the trademark 2-3 zone defense Boeheim was known for, or switch it up to a man-to-man defense, it drew laughs from Autry and those in attendance.
“We’ll be versatile. We will do whatever it takes for us to win the game. That’s the main goal, to win the game. So, whatever that may be, that’s what we’ll play,” Autry said.
5. Proud Family Man
Autry and his wife, Andrea, reside in Jamesville, with a son, Trey, and a daughter, Nina. They are also proud parents of two Orange alumni: Aliyah ’17 and Adrian Jr. ’19. The family watched as their father was named the next head coach of a university that means so much to each of them.
“I want to thank my family for your support, for allowing me the freedom to sometimes miss birthdays, anniversaries and sporting events, all in the name of basketball. You have been with me for every step of the way. You keep me grounded, and you support me in so many ways,” Autry said.
The Autry File
- Was a McDonald’s All-American in 1990 at St. Nicholas of Tolentine in the Bronx and helped lead his team to a New York state championship in 1988.
- With the Orange, Autry appeared in 121 games (116 starts) during a four-year career from 1990-94. He still ranks fifth in program history in career assists (631) and sixth in career steals (217).
- As a student-athlete, his teams made the NCAA tournament three times: 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1993-94.
- Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication (now communication and rhetorical studies) from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
- Returned to the Hill as an Orange assistant coach before the 2011-12 season and was promoted to associate head coach in March of 2017.
- Coached the Orange’s forwards, including eventual NBA draft picks Jerami Grant, Tyler Lydon and Chris McCullough and NBA G-League standouts C.J. Fair, Tyler Roberson and Andrew White.
- Syracuse played in the NCAA Tournament in seven of his 12 seasons as an assistant coach, including advancing to the Final Four in both 2013 and 2016.
- Was honored as a Syracuse LetterWinner of Distinction in 2016, and received the prestigious Vic Hanson Award from the Hardwood Club in 2017.
- Nicknamed “Red” for his red head of hair.