Ed Cooley promises NCAA championship for Georgetown


Ed Cooley was nearing the end of an energetic and charismatic inaugural press conference when the new coach of the Georgetown men’s basketball team made a promise that drew the loudest of many ovations on Wednesday.

Speaking at the John Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletic Center, steps from a towering statue of his childhood idol and professional mentor, Cooley promised the Hoyas an NCAA tournament title after a long downturn that included record losses the past two seasons to bring.

“You have to imagine, from our former players to our current players to our future players, having a net around your neck,” he said. “Hearing that ‘One Shining Moment’. Jim Nantz won’t be around because he’s retiring… but Ian Eagle will be speaking to me sometime very, very soon when Georgetown wins the national championship.”

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Faced with the guarantee that will surely accompany him for the remainder of his time with the Hoyas, Cooley, 53, had to collect himself for a few moments when asked if he should be next in line on a program whose architect is the was the first black coach to win an NCAA tournament title.

Cooley grew up watching the Hoyas arc their supremacy as they reached three Final Fours in four seasons, highlighted by the 1984 national championship. These Hoyas featured Patrick Ewing, the most decorated player in school history, whom Cooley replaced as manager.

Added symmetry about Cooley’s arrival in Georgetown was inescapable. Thompson, who coached the Hoyas from 1972 to 1999, was a standout center at Providence, where Cooley has spent the last 12 seasons, including being named national coach of the year for 2021-22.

Cooley has been in touch with Ewing and both of Thompson’s sons – John III, who coached the Hoyas from 2004 to 2017, and Ronny – in recent days The hiring process has been completed. However, he stressed that since the Hoyas rose to national prominence, he intends to forge his own path as Georgetown’s first manager without a direct connection to Thompson.

“I don’t wonder if you knew him or not,” Cooley said of Thompson, who died in 2020. “I respect it. I get it. We just have to try to do something our way and it’s not in the mold of which coach [Thompson] you would. It’s just a different era.”

Cooley brings to Hilltop a track record of reviving dying programs. Providence had lost records in six of his previous ten seasons prior to his arrival in 2011, with an NCAA tournament berth. The brothers soon became regulars in the postseason.

In 2021-22, Cooley guided Providence to its first regular-season Big East championship — one of the most significant milestones in the brothers’ history given the accomplishments of notable predecessors who coached there, including Rick Pitino, Rick Barnes and Pete gillen They also reached an NCAA tournament regional semifinals, won 27 games (the second-most in program history) and were ranked 8th in the Associated Press poll.

Georgetown has not made the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 since 2007, which was also the last time the Hoyas secured a place in the Final Four. The Hoyas have not appeared in the rankings since 2015 and were last ranked in the single digits in 2013.

They finished that season 7-25, including 2-18 in the Big East. Over the past two seasons, Georgetown lost 29 straight conference games, a Big East record, and lost more games overall than any other high-major program in that span.

“It’s a new era for Georgetown basketball,” said athletic director Lee Reed. “We wanted someone who understood our identity and could reinvent Georgetown basketball to fit the unique basketball landscape of today. Coach Cooley has a vision for our program in court, in the classroom and in the community.”

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Cooley indicated that he would explore the transfer portal to improve the Hoyas roster. He is also in the early stages of building relationships with coaches in DC, Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs while trying to recruit one of the most distinguished regions for high school basketball.

“I’m tired as hell,” Cooley, whose daughter will graduate from Georgetown in May, said of his turbulent schedule ahead of Wednesday’s news conference, where he briefly addressed the excitement, mostly on social media, over his abrupt address received farewell to Providence. “It was difficult. That was one of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had [with Providence officials], talk about leaving to go to an interconference team. So if any of you had to sit in my skin for 48 hours, you knew how hard it was. It had to have a very special place.”

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Ian Walker

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