Georgetown fires coach Patrick Ewing after 6 seasons: What should Hoyas do now?

Georgetown has fired coach Patrick Ewing after six seasons and a demoralizing period for the Hoyas, the school announced Thursday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Ewing amassed a 75-109 overall record with just 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 recording just two Big East wins during that span.
  • As a player, Ewing led Georgetown to a national title in 1984 before beginning his 17-year NBA career a year later.

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Ewing’s last game with Georgetown ended in an 80-48 loss to Villanova in the first round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, where he rose to NBA fame with the Knicks.

“No thinking about my future,” Ewing said after the game. “Both seasons have been difficult. I am disappointed with the results of the last two years. My future is in the hands of our president, our sports director and the board of directors.

It was only two years ago that Ewing and the Hoyas defeated Creighton in the Big East Tournament Finals at the Garden and earned an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. It was Georgetown’s first-place finish at the NCAA Tournament since the 2014-15 season. However, the Hoyas lost in the first round to Colorado.

Cut to this year and the struggling program had a 29-game Big East losing streak through late January, snapping it in a narrow win over DePaul.

How did it go so bad?

This is going to sound harsh, but there’s one overriding reason: Ewing just isn’t a very good college basketball coach. He was a respected, longtime NBA assistant, but his skills didn’t translate to those required of a Georgetown men’s basketball head coach, on or off the floor.

He recruited OK at first, but never extremely well, and he couldn’t retain his top talent for long. On the court, what was supposed to be a breath of fresh air for fans when he arrived – a true NBA-style pace and space ball – turned out to be utterly innocuous and ineffective.

Georgetown has never defended, run good stuff, signed top players, won an at-large 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 stature at school made fans disgusted to say so at times – until the past two years – but the whole thing was an embarrassing disaster engineered by Georgetown’s membership of the John Thompson III family and built by a coach massively out of his depth. — Brennan

What should Georgetown do now?

He needs a clean break, finally. Ewing was hired because Thompson III’s son was fired, and Thompson could not bear the thought of a non-Thompson family member following the program he had created. If his biological son could no longer be a 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 step out of his shadow years ago. It’s finally time.

Rick Pitino is often seen as a replacement option, and he would no doubt do a great job, although it 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 perfect rookie if Georgetown could lure Cooley away from his alma mater. One suggestion we would humbly make: former Temple aide Matt Langel, who turned Colgate from one of the toughest jobs in the Patriot League into a year-round middle power. Georgetown would be silly not to hear his thoughts in an interview, at least. — Brennan

What they say

In the statement announcing the university’s decision to part ways with Ewing, the coach said he “wants nothing but success to 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 for all that he has made possible for Georgetown to achieve,” said 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 has coached and we will forever be grateful to Patrick for his courage and 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 throughout this time. We will immediately launch a national search for our next coach and look forward to a bright future for Hoya basketball.

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(Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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