Mike Hopkins — no longer coach in waiting for Syracuse basketball program — signs six-year deal to head coach Pac 12 Washington
He longed to be a head coach and present long-time head coach Jim Boeheim was in his way as time began to fly
By ARNIE LESHIN
It always appeared that Mike Hopkins had a deal with his alma mater, was just waiting until his former head coach and mentor, Jim Boeheim, would retire so he could step in at the reigns of the Syracuse men's basketball team.
Well Hopkins, who was announced by Boeheim back in 2009 to succeed him when he finally gives up his long-time position, also at his alma mater. In 2015, he was labeled the coach-in-waiting.
But, guess what, Hopkins lingered around too long waiting for his opportunity. Now he probably felt that time was running out on him. He wanted to be a head coach and Boeheim was still hanging around.
So when he was hired by Washington this weekend to be its new head coach, he had plenty of praise for Boeheim, but was no doubt relieved that his moment had arrived when he signed a six-year deal with the Pac 12 school.
Now 47, the California native had been an assistant under Boeheim since 1996. In his playing days with the Orange, he was known as smart backcourt player with leadership qualities.
When Boeheim was suspended in the 2005-16 season, Hopkins took over as the interim head coach and posted a 4-5 record as Boeheim returned just in time for the ACC tournament. Oh, and the Orange, a bubble team after a roller coaster campaign, squeaked in and made it to the Final Four before losing to North Carolina in the semifinals.
Good luck, Hopkins, good move. Now poor Boeheim has to find another coach in waiting, as he has said next season would be his last. He points to his two sons now playing high school basketball, one at 6-foot-4 and a senior, the other at 6-2 and a sophomore. Now he looks ahead to seeing his sons play. Now Syracuse has to think about a successor as Hopkins takes off across the country and realizes his dream.