Orange in the City

Jim Boeheim speaking on stage

On Oct. 20, 1923, the Syracuse University football team took on the University of Pittsburgh at Yankee Stadium, the first college game ever played on that field. On Nov. 11, 2023, those teams celebrated the 100th anniversary of that milestone game with a rematch at “the house that Ruth built,” providing the centerpiece of a weekend of events in the Big Apple tailored for Orange sports fans.

 Orange in the City kicked off on the evening of Friday, Nov. 10 with Forever Orange: Boeheim Beyond Basketball held at the National Basketball Players Association training facility in midtown Manhattan. “This was a special opportunity for our alumni and friends to be able to see the venue where NBA players spend their time and to hear from legendary former Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73 in an intimate setting,” says Pam Mulligan ’89, executive director of alumni engagement in New York City.

 More than 150 alumni and friends attended the sold-out event, a collaboration between the Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving and the Office of Multicultural Advancement. The program was held at center court, a mix of storytelling by former Coach Boeheim and interview with him conducted by Adam Schein ’99, radio and TV sportscaster for SiriusXM and CBS Sports, followed by a reception. Former Orange players Tyus Battle and Rafael Addison ’86 were in attendance, as well as Director of Athletics John Wildhack ’80, Chancellor Kent Syverud and his wife, Dr. Ruth Chen, and Otto the Orange. 

 The next day, the fun continued at quintessential Bronx sports bar Stan’s, located across the street from Yankee Stadium. Orange fans were lined up down the street for the noon pre-game celebration, which drew a crowd of more than 400. The spirited group enjoyed drinks and game-day fare, including oversized Italian subs from a local deli. That Orange spirit was evident at Yankee Stadium, buoyed by the presence of the Orange cheerleading and dance teams, the Syracuse University marching band and Otto.

 Given that the game was held on Veteran’s Day, it was only fitting to honor to those who have served our country. A special halftime presentation paid tribute to Hometown Heroes William Watts ’94 and his twin brother, the late Clarence Watts ’94, both U.S. Army veterans (see accompanying story).

The day was made complete with an Orange victory: Syracuse defeated Pitt with a 28-13 win. “It was a beautiful afternoon to be outside and winning the game made it all the more special,” says Mulligan.

Despite their rivalry on the field, Syracuse and Pitt alumni came together on Sunday for a Spirited Brunch in the 1870 Room at Lubin House. “Orange in the City was a fantastic weekend-long celebration of all things Orange and a wonderful opportunity for SUMA to partner with the Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving to bring New York metro alumni together,” says Horn. “It’s always a pleasure to see the passion of our alumni in various cities displayed in full force.”