Georgetown has 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 amassed an overall record of 75-109 with only one winning season (2018-19) during his coaching tenure.
- His last two seasons were his worst, with the Hoyas going 6-25 and 7-24 and only two Big East wins in that span.
- As a player, Ewing led Georgetown to a national title in 1984 before beginning his 17-year NBA career a year later.
The athletic‘s direct analysis:
Ewing’s last game with Georgetown resulted in an 80-48 loss to Villanova in the opening round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, where he rose to NBA stardom with the Knicks.
“No thoughts about my future,” Ewing said after the game. “The two seasons have been tough. I’m disappointed with the outcome of the past two years. My future is in the hands of our president, our athletic director and the board of trustees.”
Just two years ago, Ewing and the Hoyas defeated Creighton in the Big East tournament final at the Garden, earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. It was Georgetown’s first NCAA Tournament berth since the 2014–15 season. However, the Hoyas lost to Colorado in the first round.
Back to this year and the struggling program rode a 29-game losing streak in the Big East at the end of January, taking a narrow victory over DePaul.
How did it go so wrong?
This is going to sound harsh, but there’s one overriding reason: Ewing just didn’t turn out to be a very good basketball coach. He had long been a respected NBA assistant, but his skills didn’t match those of a Georgetown basketball coach, both on and off the floor.
He initially recruited OK, but never extremely well, and he couldn’t keep his best talent for long. On the floor, what was supposed to be a breath of fresh air for fans when he arrived – a true NBA-esque pace-and-space ball – turned out to be totally anodyne and ineffective.
Georgetown has never defended, never done good, never recruited top players, never earned or even come close to a major tournament bid. He never did the things you need to do to be effective at this level. Ewing’s status at the school sometimes made fans squeamish to say it – until the past two years – but the whole thing was an embarrassing disaster, caused by Georgetown’s adherence to the John Thompson III family and built by a carriage that was massively came out of its depths. — Brennan
What should Georgetown do now?
It finally needs a clean break. Ewing was hired because Thompson III’s son was being fired, and Thompson couldn’t stand the idea of a non-Thompson relative following the program he built. If his biological son could no longer be the coach, his adopted son would be. Thompson III was a great man and a great coach, but Georgetown should have worked harder to balance his gratitude for his work with his desire to come out of his shadow years ago. Now it’s finally here.
Rick Pitino is often discussed as a replacement option, and he would undoubtedly do an excellent job, although this would be the 70-year-old’s last job and Georgetown may have to look for another coach in five years. Providence coach Ed Cooley would also be a hit if Georgetown could lure Cooley away from his alma mater. A suggestion we’d humbly make: Former Temple assistant Matt Langel, who has turned Colgate, one of the Patriot League’s toughest courses, into an annual mid-major powerhouse. Georgetown would be crazy not to at least hear his thoughts in an interview. — Brennan
What they say
In the statement announcing the university’s decision to part ways with Ewing, the coach said he wished “the program nothing but success” and that he “will always be a Hoya.”
“Patrick Ewing is the heart of basketball in Georgetown. I am deeply grateful to Coach Ewing for his vision, his determination and for all he has made Georgetown possible,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said in the statement. “Over the past six years he has been tireless in his dedication to his team and the young men he 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 Athletic Director Lee Reed. “We are grateful to everyone who has supported this program during this time. We are immediately launching a national search for our next coach and look forward to a bright future for Hoya basketball.
(Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)