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LINKS: Mr. Cooley is Coming to Washington

Reactions and news about the Hoyas’ hiring of Ed Cooley

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Providence v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Yesterday, Georgetown University officially announced that former Providence Friars head coach Ed Cooley has been named the head coach of the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball program. The announcement was made by President John J. DeGioia and Director of Athletics Lee Reed. Georgetown will host a live-streamed press conference on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at the John R. Thompson Athletics Center, to publicly introduce Cooley to the Georgetown community and beyond.

The announcement comes after weeks of speculation and rumors capped off with a revelation that Cooley’s home was listed for sale Monday morning.

Here are some quotes from the GUHOYAS press release:
Ed Cooley Named Georgetown Head Men’s Basketball Coach
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 242-153 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 22, 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...

Here are the links:

Georgetown hires Ed Cooley to be next basketball coach | Washington Post (Copeland)

Cooley is the first coach hired at Georgetown with no ties to Hall of Fame Coach John Thompson since his retirement in 1999. This will be Cooley’s third head coaching position after leading Fairfield from 2006 to 2011. His career record overall is 334-222.

“Everybody associates change with money or finance, and that, to me, is just very narrow-minded,” Cooley said in the WPRI interview. “My wife and I have been very blessed, with our children, first and foremost, and with each other. You can’t buy someone’s happiness. And you can’t buy someone’s fulfillment.”

The hope is that Cooley can restore the Georgetown brand to prominence after it was a national power for two decades. Thompson won the national championship in 1984, with Ewing as his star, and reached the Final Four in 1982 and 1985. The Hoyas returned to the Final Four in 2007 under John Thompson III.

For Georgetown, hiring Ed Cooley is the first step in a long road back | Washington Post (Feinstein)

The John Thompson era at Georgetown is over. It ended on Monday, after 51 years, when the school named Ed Cooley to replace Patrick Ewing as its men’s basketball coach. In a twist, Cooley comes to Georgetown from Providence — Thompson’s alma mater.

Thompson coached Georgetown for more than 26 seasons, but well beyond that tenure, his presence — even after his death — has been impossible to miss.

The hiring of Cooley, an outsider, was both inevitable and necessary...

And Cooley is a good hire. Fairfield was 13-19 in his first season and then won 23 and 25 games his last two seasons. He went 4-14 in Big East play his first season at Providence, but by the 2022 season, the Friars were 14-3 and finished first in the league before reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1997. He won a Big East tournament (in 2014) and that Big East regular season title (in 2022). This season’s NCAA berth was Providence’s seventh in the last nine tournaments. His record in 12 seasons at Providence was 242-153.

Georgetown hires Ed Cooley to revive Hoyas men’s basketball | ESPN (Thamel and Borzello)

Considering Georgetown’s location in the middle of Washington, D.C., arguably the best basketball city in the country, the upside of the program is considered higher than Providence’s. The Hoyas have reached five Final Fours in program history and won the 1984 national title.

Cooley will be tasked with those types of expectations after a successful run at Providence, where he went 242-153 over 12 seasons. Providence said it will begin a search for a new head coach following Cooley’s departure.

Cooley, 53, was pursued for other jobs in the past, most notably Michigan in 2019 when the Wolverines ultimately hired Juwan Howard. He withdrew from consideration for the job after conversations with Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, returning to Providence on a multiyear contract extension.

Providence officials went to great lengths to attempt to keep Cooley again this time, with sources saying he was offered a long-term deal with a pay raise.

Cool times ahead: Georgetown announces Ed Cooley as next head coach | Georgetown Voice

In the end, though, blood runs thicker than water. With the blood, of course, being the deep connection Cooley shared with the late Georgetown-great coach, John Thompson II as well as the fact that his daughter attends Georgetown. The water being the geographic link between Cooley and Providence.

Of course, that is an oversimplification, as Georgetown at its best is seen as a definitively better job than Providence due to things like funding and the DMV recruiting bed. Frankly, Cooley had hit his ceiling at Providence. Job security can be king in this industry, and one can see how he’d turned down superior jobs before, like the University of Michigan, but where others had failed to secure Cooley, Georgetown was uniquely positioned to be the school to ultimately lure him away due to the JTII connection.

This looks to be a huge improvement in the coaching department for the future of Georgetown basketball. A program that conceivably now has NCAA tournament chances as soon as next season. A fresh breath of air, to say the least.

Coach Ed Cooley has officially resigned from Providence for Georgetown. Initial thoughts as a fan | House Enterprise

Still though, why leave?

Georgetown is not in the position to compete in the Big East anytime soon. Their facilities aren’t as nice as Providence’s. They aren’t the Hoyas of the past, basketball isn’t the cities priority. You lose respect by players and coaches in the conference. Besides the pay jump, which Providence probably could have matched, you move laterally? Heck, I would even say it’s a downgrade. All for what, legacy? It’s tarnished. Your hometown hero tagline has been revoked. Fans will boo you when you visit. Relationships you have will falter. All for a new start? If he left for Michigan, or Louisville, people would be sad, but not hated. Cooley made this a media expose, and dragged it along saying “he had no idea”, when clearly that was false.

Ed Cooley is arguably one of the most marketable and loved figure heads in the state of Rhode Island. Beers are named after him, he is a staple of the community. I can confidently day that you can put a picture up of any athlete, actor, or musician, and 50-60% of the state would know who that person is. You put up a picture, and 100% of the residents here would know that’s Coach Cooley.

This was your “dream job”, this was your “community”, “Us, Together, We, Family, Friars”, what went wrong and what changed? From our interview on BBB with Cooley last year, it never sounded like leaving was an option.

Providence basketball coach Ed Cooley is leaving. Here’s what went into his decision | Providence Journal

Cooley became the first Black men’s basketball coach in program history when he was hired away from Fairfield for the 2011-12 season. He aspired to represent possibility to the city and state community of color in similar fashion to his coaching heroes – John Thompson with the Hoyas, John Chaney at Temple and Nolan Richardson at Arkansas, among others. Cooley was an assistant at the University of Rhode Island and Boston College under Al Skinner before the Stags offered him their head coaching job in 2006-07.

Cooley successfully recruited or developed some of the premier players in program history. Bryce Cotton, LaDontae Henton, Kris Dunn, Ben Bentil and David Duke all earned at least honorable mention All-American selections from the Associated Press. Dunn was a two-time conference Player of the Year and joined Cotton, Bentil and Duke in reaching the NBA.

Georgetown hires Ed Cooley: Providence coach leaving Friars after 12 seasons to take over Hoyas program | CBS Sports (Norlander)

The move is a tectonic one in the Big East; this amounts to a coup for Georgetown, which strengthens its program and theoretically weakens its Rhode Island intra-conference brethren. Cooley coached Providence into relevance over the past decade; the school has been competitive on a near-annual basis since he arrived in 2011. Georgetown, conversely, has only made two NCAA Tournaments in the past decade.

For Georgetown, hiring Cooley is a symbolic and tangible torch-pass into a new era. Cooley coming aboard means that someone not directly affiliated with the Georgetown regime under Hall of Fame Hoyas coach John Thompson Jr. will be coaching GU for the first time since 1972. Following Thompson’s retirement in 1999, the program brought on his assistant (Craig Esherick), his son (John Thompson III) and his best former player (Ewing).

Ed Cooley leaving PC, heading to Georgetown | WPRI

Before coming to PC, Cooley, a Rhode Island native, was twice named Rhode Island’s Player of the Year during his days at Central High School. He then played college basketball at Stonehill in Easton, Massachusetts.

He then became an assistant coach at Stonehill, UMass Dartmouth, University of Rhode Island and Boston College before becoming head coach at Fairfield University in 2006.

PC Athletic Director Steve Napolillo told 12 News Cooley notified them Monday morning he would leave the program. The college has not named an interim coach yet.

“I think anytime you have someone of Coach Cooley’s personality and what he accomplished, obviously there’s going to be some sadness,” Napolillo said. “But he made a decision. He is his own man. His family made a decision.”

Georgetown hires Ed Cooley from Providence to fill men’s basketball coaching vacancy | USA TODAY (Stephen Borelli)

“Coach was a very private man, yet he was loving, very caring,” Cooley told USA TODAY Sports in 2020. “We had a great relationship. I would call and just check on him as his son, John Thompson III, he and I became pretty close friends as well as competitors.”

Cooley spoke of a sometimes daily communication with Thompson when he was at Providence. He says his daughter, Olivia, who is now a senior at Georgetown, would always go say hello to the elder Thompson before games.

“He taught me a lot about the business side of college athletics,” Cooley said. “He taught me about giving kids opportunity but also being real to who you are as the man inside and not just following what is being said vs. challenge the status quo and make things better for the people in your organization.”

Cooley has reached as far as the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament after the Friars won the Big East regular season title last season. They won the Big East Tournament title in 2014.