Professional basketball success doesn’t always translate to coaching success. Hall Of Fame center Patrick Ewing can attest to that, and after six seasons at Georgetown he’s been let go.
After Georgetown’s season ended with Villanova by way of an 80-48 blowout in the first round of the Big East Tournament, it was announced Thursday morning that the school was parting ways with legendary “Hoya Destroya” Ewing.
Ewing, who is one of the greatest to ever do it on the college and NBA level, released a statement after his firing, letting everyone know that the Bulldogs still have his support.
ESPN quoted Ewing as saying:
“I am very proud to be a graduate of Georgetown University,” Ewing said in a statement. “And I am very grateful to President [John J.] DeGioa for giving me the opportunity to achieve my ambition to be a head basketball coach. It is particularly meaningful for me to be in charge of the basketball program at my alma mater. I wish the program nothing but success. I will always be a Hoya.”
Ewing was a college phenom at Georgetown in the 1980s. His dominating post play and intimidating defensive posture as the lead man on an all-Black Hoyas team, with a Black coach in John Thompson, made him one of the most beloved and hated players in basketball. Ewing was a lead player in changing the culture and elevating the popularity of the Big East as it exploded into an elite basketball conference.
Ewing dominated at Georgetown and won a national title. After playing years in the Big Apple with the 1990s Knicks and ascending to a Top 75 NBA player in history, and then putting in years on NBA benches as an assistant coach, it was only right that Ewing return to coach his alma mater to restores some of the luster it had lost.
Except it didn’t work out like the 7-footer thought it would.
Ewing Posts Losing Record at Georgetown
A record of 75-109 in six seasons doesn’t suffice, and only one winning season definitely doesn’t look good on his record.
Ewing had never been a head coach at any level prior to his hiring at Georgetown, so many had questioned the hire as simply a gesture to a former star at the university. After only winning the Big East Conference Tournament once in six years, and only making the NCAA tournament once that same year, the lack of success is the main reason why Georgetown fired Ewing.
Georgetown nonetheless has much love for Ewing and what he’s done for his school. Georgetown President John DeGioa shared as much in his statement about Ewing.
“Patrick Ewing is the heart of Georgetown basketball,” DeGioa said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful to Coach Ewing for his vision, his determination, and for all that he has enabled Georgetown to achieve. Over these past six years, he was 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.” per ESPN.
Patrick Ewing may not be sought after as a D1 coach for a while after his tenure with Georgetown, but New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau believes Ewing will land on his feet.
Thibodeau spent time on the Knicks staff as an assistant the last few years of Ewing’s playing days, and they also shared time together as assistants on the Houston Rockets in 2004-’07.
“It’s unfortunate, but Patrick is, in my eyes, he’s an all-time great, if not the greatest Knick of all time,” Thibs told the NY Post. “And obviously working together with him, not only is he a great coach, he’s an even better person. So it’s disappointing.”
“But Patrick will be fine. He’s, like I said, I’ve worked with him, so I know he’s a great coach. But he’s a great person. He’s a dear friend. And so, he’ll bounce back and good things will be coming in the future for him.” Thibodeau continued
Ewing will probably return to the NBA bench. His first venture into head coaching wasn’t a total disaster and he might actually be better suited for the pro game. Ewing was very critical of the “culture” and style of basketball that his young recruits wanted to play, and philosophically it seems as if he never connected with his players on those levels. If he did, it didn’t translate well in the win column.
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