As the national and local news media wait on new information involving long-time Syracuse University assistant coach Bernie Fine, who is being investigated by Syracuse police for allegedly sexually abusing two former ball boys, there is something interesting brewing in and around Orange Nation.
Locally, fans, friends, former managers and co-workers are coming out in droves to support the long-time assistant of head basketball coach Jim Boeheim, who made his support for Fine clear on Thursday night.
"Every road game Syracuse played during my three years at Syracuse, my roommate on the road in the hotel was Bernie Fine," said former SU assistant coach Tim Welsh, who is now an analyst for SNY and worked along side Fine from 1988-91. "I've shared over probably, at least over 1,000 meals with him in my lifetime. This guy has an impeccable reputation, that's all I can tell you about him and I don't know anything about what's been said tonight, I can't put my arms around it right now ... he is one of the most respected people in college basketball."
Meanwhile, former SU players are finding the allegations hard to believe.
"I've been around him in every imaginable circumstance in life," former player ('64-68) and SU Board of Trustee George Hicker told The Daily Orange, the independent student newspaper of Syracuse. "And there is no chance, no chance these allegations are right."
"I know them. There's no way this kind of stuff is going on," Hicker said. "Boeheim never saw anything, this guy is lying, and Bernie never did it."
One of Fine's and Boeheim's most famous former players, Derrick Coleman, who was an All-American and No. 1-overall pick in the '90 NBA Draft, said this (via Facebook):
"To all my fb people and my SU family I’ve been knowing Bernie Fine since I was 14 going to SU Basketball Camps. I know how it feels to be accused of something and everybody is speculating I support Coach Fine 100% in my time at SU and still to this day I’ve never seen any indication of what he’s being accused of."
Listening to local radio station callers in Syracuse, there are numerous people calling in and telling their stories about Fine and how much of a great guy he is.
Now, this does not mean, at all, that Fine is innocent of these changes -- we all know that good people can do bad things. But, it is interesting to see how much support Fine has around the community. Especially, since the sexual abuse scandal of Penn State University is fresh in every sports fans' minds.
-- SB Nation New York will be updating this StoryStream as more information becomes available. Please, check back or follow on Twitter at SBNationNY or JaredSmithCNY.