Washington is hiring long-time Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins to be the program’s new head coach, per a release from the school.
Hopkins has been with the Syracuse program for the last 20 years as an assistant coach after playing four years for the Orange from 1989-1993.
This move for Hopkins comes as a bit of a surprise since many expected that would be the coach to replace legendary Orange head coach Jim Boeheim when he retires.
Hopkins was even formally named the Syracuse coach-in-waiting in 2015 as he was expected to take over the Orange in 2018 after Boeheim retired.
“The University of Washington is such a unique place, with a world-class University, an exciting basketball history and unbelievable fan support,” Hopkins said in the release. “Together, I believe we can build something very special in Seattle, and I can’t wait to get started.”
“I can’t express enough thanks to Coach Boeheim for so many years of mentorship and guidance. The timing is right for me and my family to make this move.”
A native of Southern California, Hopkins was rumored for the USC head job a couple of years ago that went to Andy Enfield as he has flirted with Pac-12 head coaching jobs before.
As a West Coast native who has recruited at a national level while at Syracuse, Hopkins is an intriguing hire for the Huskies as he’ll be tasked with trying to keep Seattle kids home while also being in the mix for top national talent.
The situation at Syracuse has also taken an interesting turn since Hopkins no longer wants to replace Boeheim in 2018. It’s hard to say where the Orange will turn to now that Hopkins has set his own career path, but that future Syracuse job now becomes one of the subplots to keep an eye on over the next few months.
Hopkins replaces Lorenzo Romar at Washington after Romar was let go by the school this offseason.