The Huskies are reportedly hiring the longtime Syracuse assistant.
Washington’s men’s basketball program is hiring Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins, according to reports.
Hopkins, who’s been coaching at Syracuse since 1996 after playing for the Orange, was named the program’s head coach in-waiting in 2015 and it had been widely believed he’d soon take over for Jim Boeheim.
Both CBS Sports and ESPN have confirmed the hire.
BREAKING: Washington will hire Syracuse's Mike Hopkins as its next basketball coach, per multiple sources. Announcement expected today.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 19, 2017
Washington expected to hire Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins, sources told ESPN. https://t.co/1y7bDWxFSF
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 19, 2017
This is a fairly stunning move, as Hopkins seemed to be primed to take over for the Orange.
Boeheim is supposed to be retiring after next season, but the legendary head coach has kind of backed off that claim recently. Perhaps Hopkins got the sense – or the direct word from Boeheim – that he was going to continue to coach past 2018. Or maybe he just didn’t want to wait any longer. Or maybe Syracuse wanted to go in a different direction.
Syracuse’ AD had said in early February that the Orange were planning on sticking with Boeheim’s plan to retire after the 2017-18 season.
“Previous to me coming here, the transition was announced by all parties, agreed to by all parties, released by all parties. It’s my job to ensure as smooth a transition in this program as we can. That’s my job and I’m going to do my absolute best to do it. …. We plan on executing that which has been put in place,” he said, per Syracuse.com.
Regardless of the reasoning behind it, it’s a pretty surprising move.