Truth & Rumors: Syracuse coach played Augusta as reward for national title
Tonight in Syracuse, N.Y., basketball coach Jim Boeheim will try to lead the Orange to a win over Detroit. A victory would be the Hall of Fame coach's 900th career win, but it took winning a national championship to get to golf-loving coach invited to play Augusta National, according to a report by Mike Waters.
Boeheim's former assistant coach, Tim Welsch, tells the tale:
“In spring of 2002, Jim and I were in a car, coming back from one of our golf days during the Big East meetings in Ponte Vedre, Florida. We were talking about golf courses and he said, ‘I’ve never played Augusta.’ I told him I had a friend who was a Syracuse grad who was a member there. I said I’m sure he’d love to invite you. He said ‘Get him on the phone now.’ We called him on the phone. I said ‘Jim wants to talk to you and invite himself to Augusta.'
"My friend said to him, ‘Sure, Coach, we’d love to invite you to Augusta, but first, you’ve got to win a national championship.’ Jim says, ‘What? You’re kidding.’ My friend said, ‘No. I think that’s fair exchange. You bring us a national championship and I’ll invite you to play Augusta.’
A year later, with the help of Carmelo Anthony, Boehiem's Orange defeated Kansas to earn the title, and Beoeheim's special round, according to the report.
"After the game, I went up to [Boeheim's] suite in the Marriott. It was about one in the morning. I walked in and I gave him a handshake and a hug. I told him how happy I was for him. He said, ‘We’ll talk about the game later. Get your boy on the phone. We’re going to Augusta.’