It’s official. Ed Cooley will be the next coach of Georgetown basketball. It was hard for Providence fans to see Ed Cooley heading to any other job other than staying with the Friars until he wanted to eventually make his transition to the studio or announcer’s table but to do so in the manner he did, leaves more than a sour taste in everybody’s mouth.
Don’t get me wrong, every single person can make their own decision on what job they want to work at, but maybe don’t try and burn every bridge on your way out of your current one. Here’s a quick timeline of the last month or so…
February 22, 2023: Providence gets blown out at UConn, 87-69. Cooley calls UConn fans arrogant and spoiled in his post-game press conference.
February 26, 2023: Providence routs Georgetown on the road, 88-68
March 1, 2023: Providence loses to Xavier at home, 94-89. Xavier secures a sweep of Providence on the season and all but cements themselves as the number 2 seed in the Big East Tournament
March 4, 2023: Seton Hall Demolishes Providence at home, 82-58, on Senior Night. The 24-point loss was Cooley’s largest margin of defeat in his 12 years as the coach of Providence College. Cooley calls his team “complacent,” “arrogant,” and “soft.”
March 9, 2023: Providence loses to UConn in the Big East Tournament, being down as much as 26 midway through the second half before surging back to lose 73-66.
March 12, 2023: One Selection Sunday, Providence is named an 11 seed after losing 4 of their last 5 games, barely missing out on having to play in Dayton in the First Four games. The Friars will take on Bryce Hopkins’ former team, the Kentucky Wildcats. There begin to be rumors about Georgetown which Cooley pretends to not even be aware of.
March 15, 2023: Coach Cooley has a zoom meeting with from TCU transfer big man Eddie Lampkin.
March 17, 2023: Providence gives up the most rebounds to an opposing player in the NCAA Tournament since 1977. Oscar Tshiebwe grabs 25 rebounds as Kentucky easily beats the Friars, 61-53.
March 19, 2023: In a season recap interview with WPRI’s Morey Hershgordon, Cooley dances around the questions about the Georgetown coaching rumors and says that Providence is still his “dream job.”
Morning of March 20, 2023: Coach Cooley’s house shows up on Zillow for sale. When it starts being looked into, it shows that on March 3, 2023, Ed signed a seller acknowledgment for his house, indicating that he’s been expecting to move since the day before the disastrous Senior Night loss to Seton Hall.
Afternoon of March 20, 2023: Georgetown announces that Ed Cooley will officially be the new head coach of Georgetown basketball.
Ed Cooley is free move and take whatever job he wants but here’s where things get a little icky. Ed was meeting with the brass at Georgetown behind the PC administrations back and while in DC when the Friars played them on February 26th. The 1st year Providence Athletic Director, Steve Napollilo, was not contacted by the Georgetown AD and found out like the rest of us (through Zillow) that Cooley was essentially taking the job in DC. He left every person working at Providence College blindsided and not only that, but took a job down the road. He is the first Coach to leave on Big East job for another one in-conference. So, not only did he leave Providence, but he did so by going to an in-conference rival who we will play against at least twice a year.
The PC Administration has given Ed Cooley every single thing he’s asked for since the day he arrived on campus. Multiple raises and extensions while in the middle of contracts (multiple “lifetime contracts” for security) I new facilities, raises for his assistants, and everything in between. I could at least respect some of this if Cooley just said he was offered a shit-ton of money and he’s doing what is best for his family and his livelihood but he has specifically stated that is was not about the money. The difference in pay (taking into account the cost of living in DC too) was not much different and Providence was willing to go higher to get him to stay. Cooley was already the 15th highest salaried coach in College basketball having only won 3 NCAA Tournament games in 12 years.
He continued to claim that coaching at Providence College was his dream job and the perfect fit for him. That he is more concerned about fit, connection, and the place more than anything else.
His continued mantra of “Us. We. Together. Family. Friars.” now seems like more of a sales pitch and rings hollow with how he treated the administration and fans. He also told the team of the news via a Zoom call which is exactly the opposite of the kind of guy that preached the exact opposite. Turns out he’s quite the hypocrite and showed none of the integrity that he built this program upon.
Already knowing that he was going to be taking the Georgetown job, he was actively recruiting TCU transfer Eddie Lampkin leading up to the Friars first round NCAA game against Kentucky. It was announced that Lampkin had committed to the Hoyas just hours after Cooley was announced as the new Head Coach but Lampkin clarified that he had not yet made a decision on his next school yet.
On the surface, it appears that Cooley was receiving too much heat for how he handled everything and thus Lampkin is now going to wait to announce his plans to go to Georgetown. I can almost guarantee you that he ends up there though. Cooley was recruiting players to his next school while still being employed at PC, being paid by PC, and with an NCAA Tournament game about to be played.
Ed Cooley brought Providence College back to basketball relevancy and no coach in the country was a better fit for a program. He has made 7 NCAA Tournaments in 9 years and the Friars were looking like they were going to be a perennial Top-25 Team after the last couple of seasons and the players he had coming back. That’s what makes this a little more head-scratching of a move as well. He’s taking over a Georgetown program that has won just 2 (!) Big East Conference games in the last 2 seasons instead of returning to a place he was a beloved figure, with one of only two unanimous First Team All-Big East selections in Bryce Hopkins, and a city and school that were ready to build a statue of him once he retired. I mean, they literally left a spot for him when they built the statue with Coach Joe Mullaney and Coach Dave Gavitt outside the Ruane Friar Development Center.
Now, he’ll be public enemy number 1 in the city that once called him their favorite son. Just a weird way to go about things and I don’t think he quite realizes what he’s going to be coming back to in Providence for years to come whenever he coaches against them.
Some Additional Fallout:
I don’t think Jared Bynum was planning on coming back to Providence for his final year of eligibility but he has officially entered the transfer portal. Please don’t end up at Georgetown JB.
The Friars top recruit for next year’s incoming class, Garwey Dual, has de-committed. Friar fans had continually been weary of a potential de-commitment when Dual since didn’t sign his NLI along his teammates but he is most likely going to be following Cooley to Georgetown. I think he is going to be awesome, which kind of sucks for us.
Speaking of his teammates, Drew Fielder also de-committed from Providence after the Cooley left. So there goes the top 2 incoming players in next year’s Freshman class.
Since the assistant coaches (Ivan Thomas, Jeff Battle, etc.) are most likely following Cooley to Georgetown and were the lead recruiters on Dual and Fielder, it would make sense that they both head to the Hoyas as well. I can’t hate on their decisions at all, just sucks that they won’t be in Friars uniforms. And I’m assuming that Henton and Cartwright are both going to be on the Georgetown bench now too…that’s going to wild to see in its own right.
All of the talking heads appear to not be acknowledging how poorly Cooley handled this transition and I suppose it is so they can keep their access to him in the future. But for those saying that Georgetown is a significantly better job and a bigger brand, I just don’t see it. The money was roughly the same and Cooley said that wasn’t the reason he took the job, so that reason is out. Anyone under 30 years old does not identify Georgetown with success. That may have been the case back in the John Thompson days, but those days are long gone. Hell, Patrick Ewing as their head coach would be the best example of that mattering at all. He WAS Georgetown basketball and it didn’t do anything for their recruiting, attendance, or relevance at all. They were trying to give away FREE TICKETS this past season and couldn’t get people to take them.
The National brand doesn’t really apply now either. When there were only a handful of games that you could watch on TV and you could see Georgetown then, you could make that argument but you can literally see any game for just about any team on TV and catch highlights online at any time. That kind of “branding” doesn’t exist anymore. Washington D.C. and the DMV area has very high level High School basketball but so does Chicago, and we don’t se DePaul crushing that recruiting scene. Georgetown currently has just 4 players from the DMV area (Wayne Bristol Jr. – Upper Marlboro, MD, Jay Heath – Washington DC, Victor Muresan – Potomac, MD, & Brandon Murray – Germantown, MD). Muresan didn’t play, so you can pretty much cut him out of the list of players. Providence was able to get tons of players to come up to Rhode Island to play in the last decade too. Nate Watson (Portsmouth, VA), Maliek White (Richmond, Virgina), Rodney Bullock (Hampton, Virginia), Josh Fortune (Hampton, Virginia), Drew Edwards (MD), Jared Bynum (MD), Quadree Smith (MD), & Ben Bentil (DE – Prep) are all from the DMV area as well.
The newly revamped Providence facilities are currently better than Georgetown’s as well. If anything, this is a lateral move for Cooley but he loses all his goodwill in doing so. I hope he feels OK with that.
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