In the dynamic new world of college basketball, new coaches can quickly bring fresh perspectives and ideas to rejuvenate programs. Ed Cooley, the newly appointed coach of the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team, has wasted little time in endeavoring to make his mark on the Hilltop. With his charismatic personality and a passion for building a successful program, Cooley has made some notable statements that are both valuable for building a college basketball program and engaging with fans, alumni, and other key stakeholders.
Last night, speaking with John Fanta and the Hoya Hoop Club, Cooley offered several refreshing ideas that highlight his commitment to team identity, player development, and the importance of unity with the university and local community.
While we wait for a video to be released (or potentially a series of clips), we can broadly talk about what Cooley said. The new coach is asking a lot of fans by way of buying season tickets, packing Capital One Arena, donating to the program, and participating in Hoyas Rising.
He talked about four returning players and some new formally announced athletes. He talked deeply about his daughter’s recent graduation, as well as meeting a former vice president during commencement. He talked of fostering fans in the DC community, eventually starting up his Ed Cooley camp. He commented on BIG EAST foes and even led Fanta to talk about Rick Pitino and St. John’s bringing back a healthy old Big East rivalry with the Hoyas. It was a fun, spirited discussion that may have felt a bit too long if it were most other coaches.
But Hoyas fans are starved and Cooley’s overall message of inclusion and engagement resonates with a fanbase that has not felt that way in quite a while.
Building an Identity of Toughness
Answering this humble fan’s question about having a defensive identity, Cooley noted that he wanted this team, like his past teams, to have a toughness to them. He noted a desire for physicality on defense and mental toughness at the end of games. This was likely welcomed by many Hoyas fans, especially knowing his past success at getting players’ buy-in to these ideas.
One of the most crucial aspects of any successful basketball team is having a distinct identity and culture. Cooley understands this, and he has expressed his desire for the Georgetown Hoyas to embody toughness, especially on the defensive end. By prioritizing defensive excellence, Cooley is emphasizing the importance of discipline, effort, and resilience. This focus on defense ensures that the team will always have a foundation to rely on, even in challenging moments.
Additionally, Cooley’s emphasis on finishing games strong showcases his understanding of the importance of mental fortitude. The ability to maintain composure and execute effectively in crucial moments is a trait that sets apart championship-caliber teams. By instilling a culture of toughness and clutch performances, Cooley is setting the stage for the Hoyas to become a formidable force in college basketball once again.
Fostering Player Recognition Beyond the Court
At one point in the presentation, Coley mentioned, “I want fans to know these players for more than their on-court play.” Love it. Getting to know players’ personalities over the past few decades has been tremendously fun for fans, especially kids; however, one cannot deny the challenges in learning about the team presented from many of Georgetown’s former policies with speaking with the press and generally avoiding media connections.
While the on-court skills of players are undoubtedly vital, Cooley recognizes the significance of connecting with fans and creating a personal bond between players and the community. Cooley’s approach to player development extends beyond basketball skills and includes building character and engaging with the larger Georgetown community. Cooley also said, “I want kids who are humble. I want kids who understand it’s a privilege to attend Georgetown and wear that ‘G.’”
By encouraging players to engage with fans and get involved in the community, Cooley is fostering a sense of responsibility and gratitude in his players. This not only contributes to their personal growth but also enhances the team’s reputation and creates a positive impact in the lives of those they touch. By showcasing his players as well-rounded individuals with diverse interests and values, Cooley is strengthening the connection between the team and its fans, alumni, and stakeholders.
Moreover, allowing athletes to engage with the fans can help further Cooley’s hopes of packing the arena, as well as initiate NIL sponsorship opportunities.
Emphasizing Collective Ownership of the Program
In an era where coaching changes and transient players can often disrupt team unity, Cooley’s third refreshing idea demonstrates his commitment to continuity and shared ownership. He boldly declared that the basketball program belongs not only to the current players but also to the former players—not the coach.
By recognizing the rich history and legacy of Georgetown basketball, Cooley is embracing the invaluable contributions of those who have come before. Having former players at the press conference—future NBA Finals MVP Jeff Green, especially—was not an accident.
This inclusive approach builds a sense of pride and unity within the program. Former players become invested stakeholders who feel valued and connected to the team’s ongoing success. Cooley’s message conveys that the Georgetown Hoyas basketball program is more than any individual coach—it is a collective endeavor that spans generations. Such an approach fosters a stronger sense of community and can serve as a motivating force for current players to honor the program’s legacy while striving for greatness.
Ed Cooley’s arrival as the new coach of the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team has brought a wave of excitement and optimism for Hoyas fans. Through his refreshing ideas, Cooley demonstrates his commitment to building a team identity rooted in toughness, engaging with the fans and GU community, and recognizing the shared ownership of the program. By fostering a culture of toughness and resilience, emphasizing player development beyond the court, and embracing the program’s rich history, Cooley is paving the way for a bright future for the Hoyas.
These ideas are not only valuable for building a successful college basketball program but also for engaging with stakeholders like alumni, fans, and former players. As the Georgetown Hoyas embark on a new chapter under Ed Cooley’s leadership, the entire basketball community eagerly awaits the next season.