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PAT’S STATEMENT: Patrick Ewing Tweets About Rumored Retirement

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Two days after Georgetown Athletics’ statement, Coach Pat addresses the rumors

Creighton v Georgetown - Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament Championship Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

What looked like a quiet Friday where many fans of the Georgetown Hoyas could finally get some work done has erupted into yet another discussion about the direction of the program and Patrick Ewing’s position as head coach. After “The Statement” on Wednesday from Georgetown Athletics and Director Lee Reed, some rumors have been floated around. Patrick Ewing has taken to Twitter to quash such rumors about a potential retirement after this season.

The statement from Ewing reads:

Any announcement about my future will come from me or Georgetown University. First and foremost, I am not a quitter. My plan is to be back next year coaching at my alma mater and bringing this program back to prominence.

The speculation has been accelerated, including on this here lunch blog with this humble contributor’s “what’s next?” options for Georgetown after the statement and Bobby Bancroft’s post discussing whether Maryland or Georgetown is the better basketball coaching job. That question was posited by DC radio’s Sports Junkies, who also caught wind of a rumor about Patrick Ewing stepping away—which was quickly confirmed as just a rumor by John Feinstein.

Before the Seton Hall game on Wednesday night, Athletics and its Director Lee Reed have issued a statement in support of Men’s Basketball Head Coach Patrick Ewing. The statement from the Georgetown Athletics Department said:

A Statement from Georgetown Director of Athletics Lee Reed

As a university with high standards and expectations for both academic and athletic excellence, we all share the disappointment of a difficult season.

In this ever evolving landscape of college athletics we are committed to Coach Ewing, and we are working with him to evaluate every aspect of the men's basketball program and to make the necessary changes for him to put us back on the path to success for next year.

Coach Ewing’s dedication as well as his success in last year’s BIG EAST Tournament is a testament to his leadership. This gives us confidence that he can strengthen our program going forward. I wish to thank all of our supporters and season ticket holders for their ongoing commitment and express my appreciation to the members of our team for their hard work.

Georgetown is playing in their last game on Saturday night at Xavier before playing as the last seed in the BIG EAST Tournament on Wednesday, March 9th at Madison Square Garden.

The speculation of Patrick Ewing stepping away (or being fired) has been seriously discussed by several media outlets since January. Myron Medcalf of ESPN noted that “It’s fair to wonder, however, how long Ewing will stay at Georgetown” and “John Thompson III was fired for less, proving that an appetite for struggles is conditional, even with a coach who has close ties to Big John.” The Washington Post suggested that Georgetown no longer resembles the program of Big John’s Hoyas. Zach Braziller of the New York Post wrote “I doubt Georgetown would outright fire the legendary player, especially after giving him a contract extension last April” and that “an amicable parting ways would be the best thing for both parties” before coming on Kente Korner and elaborating.

Casual Hoya did write a post weeks ago identifying numerous ways in which the Patrick Ewing-led Georgetown basketball program is failing and reiterating the uncomfortable truth that it’s time for Patrick Ewing to step down to save Georgetown Basketball. Recently, contributions to this blog about potential candidates for head coach, should the position open up, have been posted.

The contributors at Casual Hoyas have also taken a look at some of the financial questions about the head coaching position, and relayed the feelings that—in spite of a record-smashing losing streak and historically unfathomable defensive ratings—Ewing was not showing signs of nearing the end of his Georgetown tenure.

Since then, other media outlets have led the “hot seat” discussion, including the The Washington Post, the New York Post, ESPN, NJ.com, Bleacher Report, 24/7 Sports, and more.

On Twitter—perhaps feeling a premonition of a statement coming—Casual Hoya offered a poll where 3.5 times as many people (in a 1,200+ voter result) chose a “new head coach [and] news staff” over “same head coach [and] new staff.”

There’s still a lot to unpack in the GU-issued statement. What does “we are working with him to evaluate every aspect of the men’s basketball program and to make the necessary changes for him to put us back on the path to success for next year” actually mean? Will there be internal structure changes? Will some of the staff remain? Will a Thompson still be involved? How will Ewing recruit experience and talent? Will the defense ever improve?

Paired with Ewing’s re-committal tweet, what do these statements truly mean long term? Is Ewing’s job actually safe for a year? My gut is that he’ll be back.