Only weeks after parting ways with coach John Thompson III, the son of its legendary coach John Thompson, Georgetown kept one of college basketball’s most prestigious jobs in the family by hiring the elder Thompson’s greatest star, Patrick Ewing, as the Hoyas’ new head coach, the university announced Monday.
Ewing, a three-time All-American at center, led the Hoyas to three Final Fours and their only national title (1984) before being drafted first overall in 1985 by the New York Knicks. He played 15 of his 17 NBA seasons in New York, leading the Knicks to the 1994 NBA Finals, and also won two Olympic gold medals, including one as a member of the famed 1992 Dream Team.
A college national Player of the Year and 11-time NBA All-Star, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Georgetown did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday afternoon, but a post on the Hoyas’ official Twitter feed confirmed the hiring.
Aficionados of 1980s college basketball might already be salivating for Georgetown’s semiannual matchups versus St. John’s: Ewing and Chris Mullin, the Red Storm’s coach, were known for a fierce rivalry when they played for the teams that they now lead from the sideline.
Ewing is an experienced coach, albeit at the professional level and not in running a team as a head coach. Since retiring in 2002, he has been an assistant for four NBA teams, including the last four seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, most recently as associate head coach.
John Thompson III had been seen to falter after reaching the Final Four in 2007, in his third year as Georgetown’s head coach. This season, the Hoyas finished 14-18.
With ample tradition, membership in the Big East and central location on a recruiting mother lode — the so-called DMV, or Delaware, Maryland, Virginia region, which along with Washington itself produces numerous top-tier recruits — many believe Georgetown has the structure to be nationally competitive consistently.