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Ed Cooley named new head coach of Georgetown basketball

A Black Catholic coach will once again lead the Hoyas in DC, with a hire made official on Monday.

Ed Cooley speaks to a group at St. Margaret Catholic School in East Providence in 2014. (Rhode Island Catholic)

WASHINGTON — Fresh off an early March Madness exit with Providence College, Ed Cooley has been named the next head coach of the Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball team, according to an announcement from the school Monday afternoon.

The news brings to a head rumors that had swirled since the late months of the NCAA Division I regular season, which ended with another disappointing year for the Hoyas under sixth-year coach Patrick Ewing. He was fired on March 9.

Cooley recently coached the Providence Friars to their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, suffering a loss to the Kentucky Wildcats in the first round on March 17.

Cooley is scheduled to be officially introduced at Georgetown with a press conference Wednesday on campus.

“I plan on hitting the ground running, getting to work on the court and cultivating relationships in and around the District.” said Cooley.

“Accepting this opportunity with Georgetown is not a decision I took lightly, and was made in careful consideration with my wife and family.”

Cooley, a Providence native, recently concluded his 12th season at the helm for the Friars, who like Georgetown play in the Big East Conference.

The Friars experienced consistent success under Cooley’s leadership, making the NCAA Tournament seven times since his arrival. The team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in 2022, the culmination of a season in which Cooley received a number of awards, including being named the Naismith Coach of the Year.

Rumors of his departure coincided with reports that Ewing’s days in Georgetown were numbered, at the tail end of a second-straight losing season and last-place finish in the Big East.

The new deal, for Cooley, which will reportedly be in the $6M range annually, follows the long-term extension he signed with Providence last year, believed to be paying the 53-year-old just under $4M per year.

According to historical data, Cooley is the first basketball head coach in history to transfer between schools in the Big East, all but two of which are Catholic. Only one other head coach has ever held the position at two different schools therein.

In the hours following the announcement of the Georgetown hire, information emerged that indicates Cooley had been in advanced discussions with Georgetown much earlier than previously thought.

According to public data on the real estate website Zillow, Cooley's agreement to put his Rhode Island home up for sale was signed on March 3, the day before Providence's last regular season game—a blowout loss to a struggling Seton Hall squad.

Though his daughter currently attends Georgetown, Cooley repeatedly avoided saying he was interested in the Hoyas job, telling reporters he was focused on the Friars’ upcoming tournament games. After the Kentucky loss on Friday, Cooley said there was “a lot of reflecting” he needed to do concerning a possible move.

Cooley speaks with reporters following the Providence Friars' loss to Kentucky on March 17 in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. (March Madness/YouTube)

Since the announcement of Cooley’s departure from Providence, a number of prominent Friars have made their own moves, with guard Jared Bynum entering the transfer portal Monday evening—just hours after top recruit Garwey Dual announced his decommitment from the school.

Both players are expected to consider Georgetown as a possible destination, where Cooley is likely to draw high-level recruits to the storied program in the immediate future.

Cooley’s arrival will also mark a return to the Black Catholic coaching tradition at the school, dating back to the late Hall of Fame coach John Thompson Jr., who played for Providence but later became head coach for the Hoyas in 1972. He led them to the national title twelve years later. His son John III coached the team from 2004 to 2017.

Cooley called the new gig an opportunity to team with Georgetown administrators in their “strong vision” for the program as they seek a return to success in the Big East.

“I am blessed to have worked in this extraordinary conference with great players, coaches, athletic directors, and fans, and I look forward to my new opportunity.”

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger and a seminarian with the Josephites.

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