Boeheim: Crash's death 'will be with me for the rest of my life'

By Allen Cone

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- An emotional Jim Boeheim, coaching a Syracuse game for the first time since he fatally struck a man on the road, said the accident will be "something that will be with me for the rest of my life."

The record crowd of 35,642 at the Carrier Dome gave Boeheim a standing ovation before tipoff against Syracuse on Saturday night.


After acknowledging the fans, he walked over to Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the two legendary coaches embraced.

Then, the arena's public-address announcer read a message in English and Spanish, recognizing those affected by the tragedy and honoring Jorge Jimenez. A moment of silence followed.

Duke, trailing at halftime, rallied for a 75-65 victory.

During a post-game news conference, the 74-year-old coach said he became emotional during the spectators' response when he entered the arena.


"I've been here all my life," said Boeheim, who has coached at Syracuse for 42 years. "They've always been supportive. And I think they know how bad I feel, and I just thought they were there to support our team and me. And it's an unimaginable situation. I can't describe the feelings I've had since Wednesday night. I don't think I can make anyone understand who hasn't been there.

"This is something that's there forever for me. It's one of those things. ... There's a lot of things in there that you have to overcome, but there's nothing, there is nothing like this, when a human life is lost and you're there. I just can't, I can't describe it to you."

And the pain won't lessen.

"Tuesday, it's not going to be any better. It's not going to be any better next week. It's not going to be any better next month. It's not going to be any better next year," he said. "We've reached out to the family. I intend to do that as I can in the future. This isn't about me, and it doesn't matter how I feel. It's how they feel and what has happened to them."


Boeheim did not attend practice Thursday, one day after the accident but resumed his duties Friday.

"My decision to coach this game, all I can say is, I felt the responsibility and obligation to my players, the members of my basketball team," he said in a statement before answering reporters' questions. "I recruited these young men to come play at Syracuse University, they needed me to try and do my job tonight, and they understand I did this feeling fully the weight of the tragic accident and its impact on the Jimenez family. This is something that will be with me, for the rest of my life."

Earlier in the day, Jimenez's son, Brian Hernandez, told ESPN he was surprised Boeheim would coach the game.

"Him coaching, it will be a happy environment," Hernandez said. "At first, I was like, 'How can you be in that kind of environment, knowing we're hurt?' But if he's doing it for a good cause, toward helping us, we'll be OK with it."

On Wednesday night, the accident occurred on Interstate 690 after Syracuse defeated Connecticut.

Boeheim's SUV struck Jimenez, who was walking along the road after the car in which he was a passenger apparently skidded out of control on a patch of ice and hit a guardrail.


Police were called to the scene at 11:22 p.m.

Jimenez was transported to Upstate University Hospital before being pronounced dead.

Boeheim wasn't ticketed but the investigation is continuing.

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