Bernie Fine

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Bernie Fine
Bernie Fine in 2010.jpg
Fine in 2010.
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1945-12-23) December 23, 1945 (age 71)
Brooklyn, New York
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1970–1971 Lincoln Junior HS
1971–1976 Henninger HS (junior varsity)
1976–2011 Syracuse (Associate)

Bernard Arthur "Bernie" Fine (born December 23, 1945) is a former associate head basketball coach for the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team and founding member of the Jewish Coaches Association.[1]

Early coaching career[edit]

Fine started his coaching career as a student-manager in 1963, when Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim played at SU with NBA Hall-of-Famer Dave Bing. Fine graduated in 1967 with a B.S. in personnel and industrial relations and went into business. In 1970, he assumed the basketball and football coaching positions at Lincoln Junior High. The following year, he went to Henninger High School as the junior varsity basketball coach from 1971-74 before taking over as varsity coach. When Boeheim became head coach in 1976, he hired Fine and Rick Pitino as assistants.[2]

College coaching career[edit]

During his coaching career, Fine was named the president of the Central New York Kidney Foundation; a faculty adviser for a social fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu; an adviser for an honor society, Phi Kappa Alpha; and has been involved with the Boys Club and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.[3]

Fine was responsible for coaching Syracuse's forwards and centers, including Rony Seikaly, Etan Thomas and John Wallace. In 2000, Fine was promoted to associate head coach. In the 2001-02 season, he assumed head coaching responsibilities for three games when Boeheim had health problems.[2]

Fine also coached U.S. Maccabiah team to a silver medal at the 1993 World Maccabiah Games in Israel. In 2002, he participated in The Blackfeet Native Skill-Builder Hoop Clinic, a basketball seminar conducted on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.[2]

Sexual abuse allegations and termination[edit]

In November 2011 two former Syracuse University ball boys alleged on ESPN's Outside the Lines program that they had been molested by Fine from the late 1970s to the 1990s. Fine and head men's basketball coach Boeheim denied the charges. Because the incidents occurred over 10 years ago, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick indicated that the statute of limitations would probably bar any prosecution.[4] Syracuse University placed Fine on administrative leave and said it would cooperate fully with the investigation.[5][6]

Subsequently, another person claimed to have been molested by Fine in 2002 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The United States Secret Service searched Fine's house and seized file cabinets, computers, and other potential evidence.[7]

On November 27, 2011, it was announced that Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor had fired Fine in response to the allegations.[8] Cantor said she made her decision after ESPN released a tape of a 2002 phone conversation between one of the former ballboys, Bobby Davis, and Fine's wife Laurie. In the tape, Laurie said she knew about her husband's behavior, but felt powerless to stop it.[8]

In response to a USA Today editorial calling for an explanation for why it kept Fine on the job in 2005, Cantor said that had Syracuse known about the tape at any point prior to November 27, Fine would have been fired on the spot.[9]

On April 13, 2012, one of Fine's accusers said he "fabricated everything" and had never even met Fine.[10]

On November 9, 2012, federal prosecutors announced Fine will not be charged regarding the criminal investigation of child molesting accusations.[11]

It was announced on March 29, 2013 that Fine intends to file a defamation of character suit against ESPN in regards to how it handled the story.[12] In March 2016, a federal judge dismissed a libel lawsuit filed by the former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach's wife, Laurie Fine, against ESPN over the television network's reporting of claims that Bernie Fine molested two ball boys and that she had sex with one of them[13]

After Syracuse University[edit]

In April 2012, Fine was hired as a consultant by Macabbi Haifa, an Israeli basketball team, for their preseason. In September 2012, the team reported that Fine was no longer with the club.[14] Fine's name was back in the news in August 2015 when Syracuse and Coach Jim Boeheim settled the slander lawsuit brought by former ball boys.[15]


  1. ^ "Bernie Fine fired amid abuse allegations". ESPN New York. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bernie Fine". Syracuse University. Archived from the original on November 24, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  3. ^ "Bernie Fine has spent 30 seasons building bonds with SU players ::". Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  4. ^ Mike McAndrew / The Post-Standard. "Syracuse University assistant coach Bernie Fine accused of sexual abuse; university places him on leave". Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  5. ^ Strauss, Valerie (November 19, 2011). "Syracuse chancellor's letter to alumni". The Washington Post. 
  6. ^ "Syracuse police investigating Bernie Fine about molesting boy in 1980s - ESPN". 2011-11-18. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  7. ^ "Third accuser says Syracuse coach Bernie Fine sexually abused him as child". Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  8. ^ a b "Syracuse basketball coach fired amid sex abuse investigation". CNN. November 27, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  9. ^ Cantor, Nancy (30 November 2011). "Syracuse chancellor: We didn't know of the tape until Sunday". USA Today. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Berke, Ronni (April 13, 2012). "Man says his allegations about Bernie Fine sex abuse were lies". CNN. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Former Syracuse basketball coach Bernie Fine won't be charged". The Post Standard. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "Ex-Syracuse coach to sue ESPN -". CNN. March 29, 2013. 
  13. ^ O'Brien, John (26 March 2016). "Bernie Fine case done: His wife's libel lawsuit against ESPN is dismissed". Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  14. ^ Martin, Daniel (25 September 2012). "Former Syracuse Assistant Bernie Fine reportedly 'no longer affiliated' with Israeli team". NBCSports. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Syracuse, Jim Boeheim settle slander lawsuit brought by former ball boys". ESPN. Associated Press. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2016.