Providence coach Ed Cooley has accepted an offer from Georgetown to be its next men's head basketball coach, the school announced on Monday.
The move is huge for Cooley, considering his status as the hometown, favored son of Providence. To leave for the Hoyas' program in Washington, D.C., is a seismic decision for Cooley, Providence, Georgetown and the Big East.
"I am excited for the opportunity to lead the men's basketball program at Georgetown University. President DeGioia and Athletics Director Lee Reed are united in a strong vision, including in their beliefs, for Georgetown's program, its players and the team's success," CooIey said in a statement. "I plan on hitting the ground running, getting to work on the court and cultivating relationships in and around the District. Accepting this opportunity with Georgetown is not a decision I took lightly, and was made in careful consideration with my wife and family."
Georgetown fired Patrick Ewing earlier this month following a disappointing six-year tenure, and sources told CBS Sports the school has been targeting Cooley for weeks. Cooley met with Georgetown brass on Sunday. Cooley met with his family on Monday morning to discuss the decision. Cooley, who grew up in Providence, has long described PC as his dream job.
The move is a tectonic one in the Big East; this amounts to a coup for Georgetown, which strengthens its program and theoretically weakens its Rhode Island intra-conference brethren. Cooley coached Providence into relevance over the past decade; the school has been competitive on a near-annual basis since he arrived in 2011. Georgetown, conversely, has only made two NCAA Tournaments in the past decade.
For Georgetown, hiring Cooley is a symbolic and tangible torch-pass into a new era. Cooley coming aboard means that someone not directly affiliated with the Georgetown regime under Hall of Fame Hoyas coach John Thompson Jr. will be coaching GU for the first time since 1972. Following Thompson's retirement in 1999, the program brought on his assistant (Craig Esherick), his son (John Thompson III) and his best former player (Ewing).
"We are deeply honored that Coach Cooley will be joining our community as the next leader of our Men's basketball program," Georgetown president John J. DeGioia said. "Ed is a proven leader and an experienced coach, whose values and knowledge of the game will lead our program into this new chapter. His commitment to excellence on and off the court will bring out the best of our basketball program and will give each member of our team the experiences and support they need to thrive. We look forward to welcoming Ed and his family into this new role in our community,"
"This is an exciting moment for Georgetown men's basketball as we welcome Ed Cooley and his family to the Hilltop," said Francis X. Rienzo Director of Athletics Lee Reed. "Coach Cooley is a mentor to young men, and a consistent winner with an impressive body of work. His previous experience gives him an understanding of our Jesuit values and I am confident that he is the coach to return our program to prominence within the BIG EAST and nationally."
Now, a new age for Georgetown, and an unexpected major shift for Cooley, who many believed would retire at Providence.
Cooley, 53, has won 61.3% of his games over the past dozen years with the Friars, tallying 242 wins and taking PC to the NCAA Tournament seven times — the most in program history. In 2021-22, Cooley guided Providence to its first regular-season Big East title in program history.
"I deeply appreciate Coach Cooley's immense contributions to the men's basketball program and to the PC community over the past 12 years," Providence president Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard said in a statement. "Friar fans everywhere will be forever grateful for this period of sustained excellence in our program, and I personally will continue to have the highest regard for Ed. I wish him, Nurys, and their family the best in their future.
"To our fans, let me state this without equivocation: We remain committed to competing at the highest level of men's basketball. Our facilities, our fan support, and our record of success demonstrate the impact of that commitment and I have full confidence that we will identify and hire a new coach who will build on this strong foundation and lead Friar basketball to continued excellence on a national level."