Long thought the heir for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, Mike Hopkins has reportedly jumped ship to be head coach at Washington.
Hopkins played at Syracuse under Boeheim in the 1990s and has been an assistant coach for the team since 1996. He took over as interim head coach when Boeheim was suspended by the NCAA for part of the 2015-16 season in Syracuse’s academic and athletic ineligibility scandal.
His position as Boeheim’s successor was more than an assumption; it had actually been put in writing by the school. When Boeheim announced in 2015 that he would retire following the 2017-18 season, the athletics department announced that Hopkins would be the one to take his place:
“For more than 25 years, Mike Hopkins has demonstrated the true meaning of Orange pride and loyalty,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a press release at the time. “...I know Mike is ready to lead the program into the future and carry forward the success that has occurred under Coach Boeheim.”
Oops. Hopkins’s deal with Washington is reportedly for six years. He replaces Lorenzo Romar, fired four days ago after 15 years as head coach. The Huskies’ last NCAA Tournament appearance with him was in 2011, and this season saw the team failing to qualify for the NIT for the third time in four years after going 9-22 and 2-16 in conference play.
What this means for Boeheim’s his planned retirement date of 2018 remains to be seen, especially since he’s already been cagey on whether or not he’ll actually stick with that plan.
Update, 7:00 p.m.: Syracuse announced tonight that Boeheim’s contract has been extended past the 2017-18 season.