WASHINGTON - Georgetown University's men's basketball team will have a new head coach patrolling the sidelines for just the fourth time since 1972. Patrick Ewing (C'85) was formally announced as the 18th head coach of the Hoyas on Wednesday, with all the pomp and circumstance of the homecoming celebration it was.
"This is a special moment for our university and for our men's basketball program," Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said. "Thirty-three years after winning the NCAA National Championship, No. 33 is coming home."
Ewing's resume speaks for itself -- Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame inductee, three-time consensus First Team All-American, National Champion and Most Outstanding Player of the 1984 NCAA Tournament, No. 1 overall NBA Draft selection, NBA Rookie of the Year, 11-time NBA All-Star, member of the original Dream Team and a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Following his time playing professionally, primarily with the New York Knicks, he went on to a 15-year coaching career as an assistant in the NBA.
"Well, I think if it was any other university I wouldn't be doing this," Ewing explained about leaving the NBA for college. "But it's my alma mater - It's Georgetown. You know, I'm a Hoya. I just thought it was a great opportunity to come back and to try to help to rebuild the program. Any other university and the answer would be `no, I'm going to stay in the NBA.' But I just thought it was something that I needed to do."
Ewing's return to the Hilltop comes full circle for the Hall of Famer. Although by all accounts the top recruit in the country coming out of Cambridge Rindge and Latin in Massachusetts in 1971, he is quick to remind everyone of the importance Georgetown had on his development -- both as a player and a person.
"I came to college a boy and I left a man under Coach Thompson," Ewing explained. "He gave me the opportunity to grow, not only as an athlete, but also as a person."
Recognized as the greatest player to don the Blue & Gray, Ewing not only possesses the experience and basketball acumen to lead the Hoyas, but also the values and vision that Georgetown demands from its head coach.
"The criteria for the job were based upon the following parameters," said Georgetown Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed, breaking down what the university was looking for in its next head coach. "We wanted someone who embraced the values of Georgetown University, that believed as deeply as we believe in the balance between student and athlete. We wanted someone who embraced the rich tradition of Georgetown basketball, someone who was comfortable with that tradition. We wanted someone who would set a high standard as a leader of our young men. After all, that is why we are here. We wanted someone who understood and was passionate about doing things the right way, the only way, the Georgetown way as it relates to building a nationally-competitive program.
"What I found out during this process was that Patrick was not only prepared to coach and lead a program, but that he had his own, distinct vision for where Georgetown basketball should go," Reed continued. "This program is our program, and it's his program. Pat was not anointed here, nor given a pass through a process. He earned this opportunity the old-fashioned way, the only way he knows how. He earned it through hard work and preparation."
Ewing's return to the Hilltop will bring a blend of the old-school, hard-nosed BIG EAST basketball that helped establish Georgetown as a national powerhouse along with an updated NBA style of play.
"It's my vision to try to play a style of ball that's going to be conducive and similar to the style we play in the NBA," Ewing explained. "I want it to be up-tempo, push the ball, shoot threes if you have them. It's similar to the way that we play in Charlotte. There is a more up-tempo pace and similar to what we did when I was here."