After a lot of speculation since the NCAA sanctions came down, and the uncertainty revolving around Jim Boeheim’s remaining tenure at Syracuse University, word has come down that Mike Hopkins has, at long last, finally, officially be named the head coach in waiting. Sports Illustrated writer and Syracuse alum Pete Thamel was the first to report the news on Twitter.
Source: Syracuse officials will make Mike Hopkins the designated head coach to replace Jim Boeheim. Announcement coming.
— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) June 25, 2015
“I’m honored, humbled and grateful for this special opportunity,” says Hopkins. “Very few people are afforded the privilege to coach at their alma mater. I want to thank Chancellor Syverud, the Board of Trustees and Jim Boeheim for entrusting me with this great program. Coach Boeheim has created one of the most preeminent college basketball programs in the country, one that is committed to a standard of excellence and consistency.”
This has been one of the most well known succession plans in recent college basketball history, with Hopkins being considered the coach in waiting for the better part of a decade, and Daryl Gross reiterating this fact as recently as two years ago. But when Gross stepped down as athletics director, and with the NCAA investigation, suddenly it wasn’t quite so clear.
However, it now seems that the very first order of business tackled by incoming athletics director Mark Coyle, in conjunction with chancellor Kent Syverud, was to settle the matter once and for all. Hopkins will take over as soon as Boeheim steps down, and now any uncertainty that other coaches may be using as negative recruiting against the program is effectively eliminated. Hopkins is one of the most respected assistant coaches in the country, having worked extensively alongside Boeheim with Team USA, and is one of the top recruiters in college hoops. His relationship with Tyus Battle could be the driving reason why the 5-star talent may eventually wind up wearing Orange instead of a Michigan or Duke uniform.
Everyone pretty much knew this was coming, but it’s nice to have it be so publicly affirmed.