The biggest star in Georgetown history and the leader of the 1984 National Championship team. A two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. An NBA legend with 17 years of playing experience and another 17 years as an assistant or associate head coach. These accolades describe Georgetown‘s next head coach, Patrick Ewing.
Ewing is returning to Georgetown, the school he graduated from in 1985 after a stellar playing career, to replace John Thompson III as the Hoyas head coach. This is the first head coaching job for Ewing, who has been mentioned with many NBA vacancies over the course of his coaching career.
It’s been a dicey offseason so far at Georgetown. Previous head coach John Thompson III missed the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, but his job status was complicated by his lineage – his father, John Thompson, is a fixture within the program and is still a visible presence today 18 years after coaching his last game. Despite this, Thompson III was fired and the search began.
Georgetown talked to/inquired about some big names, including Shaka Smart, Mike Brey and Ed Cooley, but all declined. Ewing’s name was attached to the Georgetown opening from the start. The only question was whether the 7-foot Hoya legend would come to the college game or not.
Ewing now joins fellow Big East coach and “Dream Teammate” Chris Mullin as the only two Division I head coaches inducted to the Hall of Fame as individual players.
“Georgetown is my home and it is a great honor for me to return to my alma mater and serve as the next head coach,” Ewing said in a statement on Monday. “I have been preparing to be a head coach for many years and can’t wait to return to the Hilltop.”
While his coaching experience and basketball mind more than qualify him for this position, the biggest hurdle for Ewing will be adjusting to the much different college basketball world. Ewing has never recruited, never had to worry about his players going to class and getting their grades up, nor has he had to deal with NCAA rules. The staff that he assembles may ultimately determine how successful Ewing is early on.
There’s no question that the hiring of Ewing will re-invigorate a frustrated fan base. John Thompson III seemed for a time like he would bring back the glory days of his father, but now the program looks to it’s brightest star to do just that.