Georgetown coaching candidates: Rick Pitino, Mike Brey among possible targets to replace Patrick Ewing

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Georgetown is a program in crisis. It has never been more famous in college basketball than it is now, coming off the disastrous six-year run under its most famous basketball alum, Patrick Ewing, who was shot on Thursday after six seasons at the helm of the Hoyas.

With the page finally turned, Georgetown will be in a position it hasn’t been in for some time: when it will receive great attention and curiosity. For all the shortcomings of the basketball team over the past decade, it remains a work of great appeal, enhanced by the sport’s greater history and cultural significance. That was raised by Naismith Hall of Famer John Thompson Jr.

But Thompson’s spell in the coaching seat will end in 2023 – for the first time in five decades. Georgetown can now fill this vacancy with someone unrelated to the Georgetown basketball family, but most notably, the Thompson tree. That would seem to be for the better.

With that in mind, here are six candidates the school should consider, some of whom will no doubt try to interview to fill the job opening created by Ewing’s firing.

Rick Pitino, head coach of Iona

The biggest and most prominent name is associated with this opening, as it happened for months after months. With no sanctions handed down in the Louisville IRP case since last fall, Pitino is more employable and marketable than he has been in a decade. He will be courted by several schools, and I expect Pitino to take a bigger job and leave Iona in the coming weeks. It’s unclear whether Georgetown has Pitino on his list, but it’s clear that no hire would be more surprising than the man who has coached two national title teams and, like Thompson, is in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. He is 707-289 as a college coach, a .710 winning percentage.

Micah Shrewsberry, Penn State head coach

Shrewsberry has a promising future in college hoops. His reputation is great, and he’s in a good place right now. Penn State is on the rise, so it’s inevitable that more prestigious programs will be knocking on its door. If he gets on the stage with Georgetown where he got an offer, he’s going to the Hilltop. That said, he is 33-29 in two seasons at one of the toughest jobs in the Big Ten.

Ed Cooley, Providence head coach

The buzz surrounding the plausibility of Cooley (334-220 for his career) leaving his hometown program has grown in recent weeks, but we’ll see. Cooley is said to be the greatest coach in Providence history. Cooley has made Providence an NCAA Tournament outfit that is close to a year and has done things at that school that have never been done before, such as making the NCAA Tournament in five consecutive years. Would he leave, just to stay in the Far East? That’s the big question. Georgetown, for many reasons, would be a place where Cooley could continue to thrive as he coached into his mid-50s.

Jeff Capel, Pitt head coach

Capel is in his 14th year running the program, the last five with the Panthers. Pitt is on the bubble, but possibly on its way to the NCAAs for the first time since 2016. Capel (247-190 career mark) was a great coach at VCU in the 2000s, but that was admittedly a different time and at a different level and not right in the heart of DC Still, hard to understand he wouldn’t be bothered by interest, if Georgetown was interested. And a pivot to the Big East would reset his coaching clock; Capel cooled off a hot season by finishing fifth in the ACC and getting this team to NCAA Tournament-caliber.

Mike Brey, former Notre Dame coach

Brey was a finalist six years ago, before Ewing got the nod. He is also an undrafted free agent, and Brey has said he plans to train again. The 63-year-old has D.C. roots and, like Cooley and Pitino, has the media to take on this job and bring the energy and positive outlook that Georgetown needs right now . But Brey (582-332 career record) may be a few years too late to receive this offer. If I’m Georgetown, I still schedule an interview. All bases must be covered.

Boynton, 41, is trying to lead the Cowboys to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years; the other year was a lost cause as OSU was placed on a controversial postseason ban by the NCAA. Boynton is 105-87 in his career, but he has the most sales of any candidate listed here: He has a big win in recruiting, and is the youngest in the group. Some could argue that the Hoyas need a coach who can come in and revive things – and do so with a youthful approach.

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