Five faculty members have each received $10,000 New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist grants to carry out creative projects, including several that have a focus on public service in the arts. NYSCA also awarded a $40,000…
Adrian Autry ’94 Ready to Make His Mark as Next Men’s Basketball Coach (Podcast)
It’s a term that’s often used to describe the culture found in a sports locker room, but in the case of the Syracuse University men’s basketball program, the student-athletes and coaches who make up the team truly feel like a family.
And beginning tonight when the Orange tip off the 2023-24 season at home against the University of New Hampshire, there will be a new yet very familiar face leading the Orange men’s basketball family.
Adrian Autry ’94, the former men’s basketball standout who served as Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim’s ’66, G’73 assistant and associate head coach for 12 years, begins his next great coaching challenge: leading his alma mater.
“This is a dream come true. For Coach Boeheim to stamp me [as his successor] and give me his blessings, it means the world to me and I don’t take that lightly,” says Autry, who earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
“When I talk about our program and what it means to me … I love this place, I love Coach Boeheim and I love Syracuse. This place was pivotal for me growing as a young man. Those years were important because I experienced everything there and I took everything I learned with me,” Autry says. “I especially learned about loyalty. The Syracuse community, this University and our fans are loyal to the men’s basketball program, and that all comes back to the family part of it. I’ve always embraced that family atmosphere here.”
During a four-year playing career, Autry etched his name in the school’s record books as a prolific passer and tremendous defender. He still ranks fifth in program history in career assists and sixth in steals. Following a successful playing career that included stints in Europe and across North and South America, Autry embarked on his second act: as a basketball coach, learning the Xs and Os of coaching from his mentor, Boeheim.
Autry stopped by the “’Cuse Conversations” podcast to discuss this exciting opportunity, and why he’s ready to take over and make his mark on the men’s basketball program.
Autry also reveals the lessons he’s learned from Boeheim, explores why his team will be fast-paced on offense and tenacious on defense, recalls his favorite memories from his playing days and shares why, from his first day on campus, Syracuse has always felt like home.
01What made you ready to be our next men’s basketball head coach?
I’ve really been a leader in my own way, with my own path and my own mind. I did things my way, and I’m grounded in my convictions. When I believe in something, I fully believe in it. You’ve got to have those priorities down, which I felt I did. And then during my 12 years as an assistant for Coach Boeheim, he allowed me to grow and gave me a lot of freedom and responsibility to learn as a coach. I grew a lot each year, and as coach saw me growing, he continually gave me more responsibilities and let me broaden my coaching horizons.
I learned consistency, to never get too high or too low. There are so many ups and downs to our profession, and watching Coach Boeheim go through trying times, he would approach every day the same, never getting too high or too low. That’s something I carry with me, along with the importance of always being prepared.
02When did you decide you wanted to become a coach?
I brought my family and my oldest son, Adrian Jr. ’19 up to Syracuse. I wanted to show them Syracuse, let them see where I went to school and where I played. As I was talking with Coach Boeheim and [then assistant coach] Mike Hopkins ’93, they were asking me what I was up to and what I planned on doing, and they both encouraged me to get into coaching. I thought it was a great idea and that got me thinking that I should become a coach. It all started after that visit to Syracuse.
03What makes the men’s basketball program a family?
Whenever you have one head coach for so long, there’s always that connection. The student-athletes who came through here, who studied, played and grew at Syracuse University, we had this saying: We’re part of the Orange family, and it’s family for life, family forever. It’s because we had that one voice, that one coach who has connected generations of players. We all shared that same experience with coach, with the community and with this campus. It’s a special situation here at Syracuse.
04What style of basketball do you see your team playing?
We want to get after people defensively. We want to try to create [turnovers], make people beat us and speed the other team up. Then on the other end, we want to be able to make our defense create some offense for us by getting out in transition, being aggressive and pushing the ball. Fast paced. We want to get up and down, create spacing and use our talent to take over and make plays for us. We want to be an up-tempo team, get up and down on both ends of the floor.
05And that trademark 2-3 zone defense?
Man, if I had a penny or a nickel for every time I’ve been asked that question, I’d be a rich man!