In a move that will surely send shockwaves throughout the BIG EAST and NCAA basketball for years to come, the Georgetown Hoyas have reportedly agreed to terms with Ed Cooley to be their next head coach.
BREAKING: Ed Cooley has accepted the Georgetown job and is leaving Providence, source tells CBS Sports.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 20, 2023
While there have been rumors that an offer has been on the table since at least the dismissal of Patrick Ewing, it appears Cooley will indeed be leaving his hometown to come to Washington, DC.
Cooley, who previously coached at Providence for the past twelve seasons (242-153), is widely regarded as one of the top coaches in the country. Cooley’s overall record is 334-222, with five years at Fairfield (92-69). Under his leadership, the Friars made the NCAA Tournament seven times, including a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in 2022. In 2022, he was named the recipient of the Naismith Coach of the Year and the BIG EAST Coach of the Year, among other coaching awards. Cooley’s Providence teams won a BIG EAST Regular Season Title (2022) and a BIG EAST Tournament Title (2014).
His success on the court, combined with his reputation as a strong recruiter and respected member of the coaching community, made him an attractive candidate for the Hoyas. The late, great coach John Thompson Jr. has always thought highly of Cooley as a coach, from a distance.
According to sources close to the situation, Cooley was targeted for the job by Georgetown President Jack DeGioia and Athletic Director Lee Reed swiftly at the end of the season (or perhaps earlier). With Providence facing Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, some delays were inevitable. Cooley is expected to be formally introduced at a press conference in the coming days. His annual salary is expected to be north of $5 million.
The hiring of Cooley is seen as a major upgrade for Georgetown, which has struggled to compete at the highest levels of college basketball in recent years. The Hoyas have not put together a résumé worthy of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid since 2015 and finished these past two seasons with a record of just 2-37 in the BIG EAST. However, with Cooley now at the helm, there is renewed optimism that the program can quickly return to its former glory.
With the transfer portal still beckoning all players like a siren’s song, there’s no telling what state the Georgetown roster will be in for Cooley to inherit. Five players—Primo Spears, Jordan Riley, Denver Anglin, D’Ante Bass, and Malcolm Wilson—have already put their names in the portal and received contact from other programs. Moreover, it will be interesting to see who Cooley hires as assistant coaches. While Patrick Ewing had some holdovers from John Thompson III’s staff, that is far from the norm.
Cooley will, of course, have an opportunity to shape the Georgetown roster in his own image, bringing in new transfers and recruits, as well as potentially re-recruit players on last year’s Georgetown team in whom he may see potential. Bringing players from Providence as in-conference transfers is now permitted but may appear uncouth. There have been rumors of a couple current Cooley recruits and transfers being “package deals” with Cooley if he should take another job, but that remains to be seen. Rumors of a few PC assistant coaches joining Cooley at Georgetown have yet to be confirmed.
The overarching challenge for Cooley will be to navigate the familiar-yet-highly-competitive BIG EAST Conference, to compete with programs with recent success such as Marquette, Creighton, Xavier, UConn, as well as historic programs like Villanova and Seton Hall with new, young coaches, and St. John’s and their expected new hire. Of course, Georgetown’s old rival Providence will have some new bad blood to heat up this rivalry. Cooley also has beef with UConn fans after calling them “extremely spoiled” for taking their success in the men’s and women’s programs for granted.
With Cooley’s track record of success and his ability to get the most out of his players, there is reason to believe that he is up to the task to get Georgetown to compete in what appears to be the nation’s top basketball conference for years to come. The biggest concerns, until proven otherwise, will be whether Cooley-led teams can find NCAA Tournament success. Perhaps Georgetown—with a hotbed of recruiting nearby, fertile NIL opportunities being planted, and a starved fanbase eager for engagement—can give Cooley the requisite boost get to the next level in March Madness. Like JTIII’s most successful years, Cooley will likely need to find a sure-fire NBA lottery pick or two to help carry the load en route to a Final Four.
In the end, the hiring of Ed Cooley represents a solid move by Georgetown to revitalize its basketball program. Fans will and should be excited about the prospects. Cooley is an excellent teacher, coach, and communicator. By all accounts, he is a good person and excellent developed of fine young men, like Thompson was.
Other coaching candidates may have proven successful at Georgetown with the opportunity but the University apparently feels that Cooley is their guy. It’s hard to disagree that he’s a good fit for Georgetown Basketball at this time in the program’s history. It remains to be seen how quickly he can turn things around, but the Hoyas are very likely in good hands with Cooley at the helm.
Welcome to Georgetown, Coach Cooley!
Press Release from Georgetown:
Ed Cooley Named Georgetown Head Men’s Basketball Coach
2022 Naismith and Sporting News Coach of the Year
WASHINGTON – Georgetown University announced today that Ed Cooley has been named the head coach of its men’s basketball program.
“We are deeply honored that Coach Cooley will be joining our community as the next leader of our Men’s basketball program. Ed is a proven leader and an experienced coach, whose values and knowledge of the game will lead our program into this new chapter. His commitment to excellence on and off the court will bring out the best of our basketball program and will give each member of our team the experiences and support they need to thrive. We look forward to welcoming Ed and his family into this new role in our community,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia.
“This is an exciting moment for Georgetown men’s basketball as we welcome Ed Cooley and his family to the Hilltop,” said Francis X. Rienzo Director of Athletics Lee Reed. “Coach Cooley is a mentor to young men, and a consistent winner with an impressive body of work. His previous experience gives him an understanding of our Jesuit values and I am confident that he is the coach to return our program to prominence within the BIG EAST and nationally.”
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the men’s basketball program at Georgetown University. President DeGioia and Athletics Director Lee Reed are united in a strong vision, including in their beliefs, for Georgetown’s program, its players and the team’s success. I plan on hitting the ground running, getting to work on the court and cultivating relationships in and around the District. Accepting this opportunity with Georgetown is not a decision I took lightly, and was made in careful consideration with my wife and family,” said Cooley.
He continued, “I was born and raised in the Providence College basketball program and am grateful to the college, its President Kenneth Sicard and its Athletic Director, Steve Napolillo, from whom I could not have received better support. I am blessed to have worked in this extraordinary conference with great players, coaches, athletic directors, and fans, and I look forward to my new opportunity.”
Over the last 12 seasons at Providence College, Cooley has posted a 242-53 (.820) record, which includes seven trips to the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2022, a BIG EAST regular season title (2022) and a BIG EAST Tournament title (2014). In 17 seasons as a head coach, Cooley has a 334-222 record with stints at Providence College (2011-23) and Fairfield University (2006-11). In 2022, Cooley was the recipient of the Naismith Coach of the Year Award, named the Sporting News Coach of the Year, the BIG EAST Coach of the Year, the NABC District 5 Coach of the Year and the USBWA District 1 Coach of the Year.
The University will host a press conference on Wednesday, March 23, 2023 on campus at Nolan Hall, located within the John R. Thompson Athletics Center, to publicly introduce Cooley to the Georgetown community. Georgetown worked with TurnkeyZRG, the top talent recruitment firm in sports, which has recently placed the President of the NCAA, and the Commissioners of the ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12.
Cooley was responsible for turning around the Friar program. Prior to his arrival in 2011, Providence had finished under .500 in six of the 10 previous seasons and made just one trip to the NCAA Tournament (2004) in that 10-year span. Following Cooley’s arrival, he led the Friars to nine postseason tournament berths, including seven straight from 2013-19. In 2022, he guided the team to the NCAA Sweet 16 and the program’s first BIG EAST regular season title. In 2014, he led the team to the BIG EAST Tournament title.
During his time at Providence, Cooley has coached five All-Americans. He also has had players earn two BIG EAST Player of Year honors, two BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year accolades, three BIG EAST Most Improved Player awards, one BIG EAST Tournament MVP, five BIG EAST All-Tournament Team accolades, two BIG EAST All-Rookie Team awards, one BIG EAST Sportsmanship honor and 12 All-BIG EAST honors.
Prior to his time at Providence, Cooley guided Fairfield University to a school-record 25 wins and a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season title in 2010-11. He was named the 2011 MAAC Coach of the Year and the 2011 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District I Coach of the Year honors as his squad advanced to the second round of the NIT.
In five seasons at Fairfield, Cooley’s teams posted a 92-69 mark, including a 58-32 record in MAAC action. In 2010 Cooley was the first recipient of the Ben Jobe Award, presented annually to the top minority men’s basketball coach in the nation.
Prior to taking the Fairfield position, Cooley spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach for Al Skinner (Rhode Island - 1996-97; Boston College - 1997-2006). During his time with BC, the Eagles advanced to five NCAA Tournaments and one NIT, secured the 2001 BIG EAST Tournament title and three BIG EAST regular season titles (2001, 2003 and 2005).
A 1994 graduate of Stonehill College, he was a three-time captain for the basketball team and was inducted into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019. Cooley began his coaching career at UMass-Dartmouth. He helped lead UMass-Dartmouth to a 25-4 mark and a No. 3 national ranking (1994-95). He returned to his alma mater to serve as an assistant coach for one season (1995-96).
Cooley is a native of Providence, Rhode Island and attended Central High School, earning two Rhode Island High School Player of the Year honors. He did a postgraduate year at New Hampton Prep before attending Stonehill. He and his wife Nurys have a daughter Olivia, who attends Georgetown University, and a son Isaiah.
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