Georgetown fired coach Patrick Ewing after six seasons and a demoralizing era for the Hoyas, the school announced Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Ewing compiled a 75-109 overall record with only one winning season (2018-19) during his coaching tenure.
- His final two seasons were his worst, with the Hoyas going 6-25 and 7-24 and recording just two Big East wins in that span.
- As a player, Ewing led Georgetown to the 1984 national title before beginning his 17-year NBA career a year later.
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Ewing’s final game with Georgetown resulted in an 80-48 loss to Villanova in the first round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, where he became an NBA star with the Knicks.
“I don’t think about my future,” Ewing said after the game. “Those two seasons were difficult. I am disappointed with the outcome of the last two years. My future is in the hands of our president, our athletic director and the board of directors.”
Just two years ago, Ewing and the Hoyas beat Creighton in the Big East Tournament final at the Garden to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It marked Georgetown’s first NCAA Tournament berth since the 2014-15 season. However, the Hoyas lost in the first round to Colorado.
We cut to the year and the struggling program took a 29-game Big East losing streak into late January, snapping it with a narrow win over DePaul.
How did it get so bad?
This is going to sound harsh, but there is one most important reason: Ewing just didn’t make a very good college basketball coach. He was a well-regarded longtime assistant in the NBA, but his skills weren’t needed for Georgetown’s head basketball coach, on or off the floor.
He hired well at first, but never exceptionally well, and couldn’t hold on to his best talent for long. On the floor, what should have been a breath of fresh air for fans when he arrived — a proper NBA-style pace and space ball — ended up being completely painless and ineffective.
Georgetown has never run defense, never run good things, never recruited top players, never earned a major tournament bid or come this close. He never did any of the things you need to do to be effective at this level. Ewing’s status at the school led fans to vilify him at times — until these past two years — but the whole thing was an embarrassing disaster caused by Georgetown’s attachment to John Thompson III’s family. — Brennan
What should Georgetown do now?
He needs a clean break, finally. Ewing was hired because Thompson III’s son was fired, and Thompson couldn’t stand the idea of a non-Thompson family member taking over the program he built. If his biological son can no longer be the coach, it will be his adopted son. Thompson III was a great man and a great coach, but Georgetown needed to work harder to balance its appreciation for his work with a desire to step out of his shadow years ago. Now is the final time.
Rick Pitino is commonly mentioned as a replacement option, and he would undoubtedly do a great job, although this would be the 70-year-old’s last job and Georgetown could find itself looking for another coach in five years. Providence coach Ed Cooley would also be a slam dunk if Georgetown was able to lure Cooley away from his alma mater. One suggestion we’d humbly make: Former Temple assistant Matt Langel, who turned Colgate, one of the toughest jobs in the Patriot League, into an annual powerhouse. Georgetown would be silly not to at least hear his thoughts in the interview. — Brennan
What they say
In a statement announcing the university’s decision to part ways with Ewing, the coach said he wishes “nothing but success for the program” and that he “will always be a Hoya.”
“Patrick Ewing is the heart of Georgetown basketball. I am deeply grateful to Coach Ewing for his vision, his determination and all that he has enabled Georgetown to achieve,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said in a statement. “Over the past six years, he has been tireless in his commitment to his team and the young men he has coached, and we will forever be grateful to Patrick for his courage and his leadership in our Georgetown community.”
“It has been a privilege to work with Patrick over the past few years and I deeply appreciate all of his hard work and efforts to support our student-athletes and the men’s basketball program,” said Director of Athletics Lee Reed. “We are grateful to everyone who supported this program during this time. We will immediately begin a national search for our next coach and look forward to a bright future for Hoya basketball.”
(Photo: Michael Reaves / Getty Images)