Long before he was a well-known college basketball coach at Syracuse University going toe-to-toe with the likes of John Thompson of Georgetown or winning the 2003 NCAA championship with Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara leading the way, Jim Boeheim made his mark as a player at Lyons Central.
The Lions went 48-10 during Boeheim’s three-year varsity run, winning Wayne-Finger Lakes Championships in his junior and senior season. Boeheim averaged 19.3 points as a junior and 24.8 as a senior and finished his career with 1,012 points.
Lyons played in the largest sectional classification at this time and reached the semifinals in 1961 before losing to a Franklin team led by Trenton Jackson, one of the finest high school athletes to ever come out of Rochester, and the finals in 1962 before losing by a point to East Rochester in double overtime.
Fast forward to today, and Boeheim returns to the Syracuse University sidelines for Saturday’s game against North Carolina in the Carrier Dome. He missed the previous nine games while serving an NCAA suspension.
Jackson’s athletic feats rank among the best of any Section V athlete. He attended Franklin High School, where he set the national high school record in the 100-yard dash (9.4 seconds). He went on to the University of Illinois, where he lettered in indoor track, football, basketball, outdoor track and baseball. He also represented the United States in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team but opted to play in the NFL for Washington and Philadelphia before returning to Rochester coach and teach and start a family.
Jackson compiled a 388-181 record and won six sectional championships as basketball coach at Franklin, reaching the state semifinals in 1993 and ’96. He coached his daughters in track and field and son in basketball and is a member of the Section V basketball, football and track and field halls of fame. He died on March 25, 2007 at age 65.