BY SPNW Staff 09:11AM 03/19/2017

Boeheim assistant Hopkins is new Huskies coach

Designated in 2015 as the successor to Jim Boeheim as Syracuse head coach after the reiirement of Jim Boeheim, Mike Hopkins was named Sunday to succeed Lorenzo Romar at Washington.

Mike Hopkins was going to succeed Jim Boeheim, and now he will succeed Lorenzo Romar. /

The University of Washington has hired Mike Hopkins, 47, the designated successor to Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, to replace Lorenzo Romar as men’s basketball head coach.

“I’m extremely excited to welcome Mike and his family to Seattle,” UW athletic director Jen Cohen said in a statement released by the school. “His resume and reputation within the basketball community made him stand out to us, but ultimately it was his vision for Washington, his passion for teaching and developing student-athletes and his close alignment with the core values of our institution and department that made it more than clear that he was the right fit for us.” was the first to report the story Sunday morning.

“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 a statement. “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 former Syracuse player, Hopkins has been an assistant for 21 years at the New York school, which did not make the NCAA tourney this season. Syracuse’s season ended Friday, when, playing at home, the Orangemen were knocked out of the National Invitational Tournament by Mississippi, 85-80.

In June 2015, the school’s president announced Hopkins’ title would be head coach-designate, to succeed Boeheim after his scheduled retirement following the 2017-18 season.

During his time in New York, Syracuse advanced to postseason play in all but one year. He was a part of 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2003 National Championship, four Final Fours, five Elite Eights and 10 Sweet 16s, along with four NIT berths. Additionally, Syracuse never dipped below a .550 record while Hopkins was on staff.

A California native and graduate of prep powerhouse Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Hopkins, a 6-5 shooting guard, led Syracuse as a two-year team captain to the Big East Conference championship in 1991-92. He played in the Continental Basketball Association and in Europe before joining Boeheim on staff in 1995.

Hopkins earned his undergraduate degree in speech communications from Syracuse in 1993. He will be joined in Seattle by his wife Tricia, and their sons, Michael Griffith Jr. and Grant Richard, and their daughter, Ella Grace.



  • wabubba67

    Ugh… I was hoping to get a proven, but still young, HC from a mid major conference. Instead, we got a longtime assistant from a major school. I’m guessing that the level of support that he feels from the UW administration will be far different from what he experienced and became accustomed to at Syracuse. Plus, I just despise an absolute reliance on the 2-3 zone.

    • art thiel

      Do you think if he has the guys, he might man up?

      • wabubba67

        Doubtful to unsure…Boeheim never did with top talent. He likely hasn’t been around a coach that emphasized man D since high school. Hoping that he gets top assistants well versed on all aspects of the game.

        • art thiel

          Boeheim managed to survive pretty well with a zone. A trifle, yes?

          • wabubba67

            Yes, he’s had a fine career. I also wonder how many of his numerous first and second round exits in the NCAA tournament would have been avoided simply by allowing his generally superior athletes to pressure man to man. A 2-3 zone provides the tempo that is necessary for an upset (assuming that the opponent is well coached and can execute offensively v. the 2-3). Furthermore, Syracuse has been (by their standards) generally mediocre as of late. I would just prefer that my head coach has a variety of arrows in his quiver to best manage all situations.

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  • Gary

    Wow, didn’t see that one coming!

    • art thiel

      No one did, although he nearly took the USC job two years ago. That was the crumb on the trail.

      • Gary

        Obviously this was in place before the Romar departure. Have to give her credit as she obviously has a plan for righting the basketball program. I think it is a good hire but we shall see.


    Really? We gave up the #2 recruiting class, consensus top 3 player, a 298-196 record (.603 winning percentage), including six 20-plus win seasons, six NCAA Tournament berths and three runs to the Sweet 16 (2005, 2006, 2010) and a three-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year……..for a lifelong assistant. SMH……

    • wabubba67

      It doesn’t matter how talented the players are if the HC can’t develop or coach.

      • art thiel

        Apparently, you have been watching Romar.

    • art thiel

      He’s a quality coach and recruiter taking on a serious project for at least two years. Unlikely any sitting major coach wants to be here right now.


        So then, if it’s a two year project, why not give it one more year with the #2 recruiting class, consensus top 3 player, a 298-196 record (.603 winning percentage), including six 20-plus win seasons, six NCAA Tournament berths and three runs to the Sweet 16 (2005, 2006, 2010) and a three-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

        National Championships have been won with “another ‘one and done'” so why not give it a shot with the most talented roster the University of Washington has possibly ever seen?

        • mrRef63

          Go away already! Everybody knows that Romar had a nice run but the game passed him by during the last 6 years! It was time for a change!

          • ROFLMAOAY

            #9 players drafted, 7 in 1st round, averaged 18 wins and 4 post season tournaments since 2010. That’s pretty good for someone you believe has been passed by by the game. Last year the Chriss and Murray entries came as a surprise. Romar believed he had them for at least another year and was caught off guard. You can’t tell me that had they stayed we’d even be having this conversation.

            And if it was time for a change, then why got get a career assistant from the opposite side of the country with no ties to the program or recruiting base?

          • art thiel

            Steve Sarkisian had no experience as a head coach before Woodward hired him. Drinking aside, it worked out OK from 0-12. Everything in Hopkins’ resume and references say he’s a good coach and good recruiter.

          • ROFLMAOAY

            Really? I don’t think you can compare a football coach in Sark with a basketball coach in Hopkins. Especially when it comes to recruiting.

            That being said, I’d argue that Sark had played college ball in California, was the Assistant head coach/Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks coach at USC where he’d been for close to a decade, in addition to being a QB Coach for the NFL Raiders. He was very well known throughout the west as a great offensive mind, coach and recruiter.

            Not going into how different recruiting is between the two sports, Sark’s success was highly dependent upon his recruiting ability, which was done here in the west where he’d recruited for years and built some great connections with powerhouse programs.

            Boeheim doesn’t recruit west of the Mississippi, thus neither did Hopkins. All his connections are on east coast. He’s going to have rely on newbie Conroy for whatever stability he can provide and land some stud assistant/west coast recruiter or it’s going to take a couple years to build those recruiting pipelines on this coast.

            Another point is that Boeheim built SU’s reputation on its zone defense that I don’t see being successful out here in the Pac-12.

            Hopkins is a good coach. I simply don’t see this as a quick fix and would have really loved to see that team Romar had assembled, going into next year knowing expectations and with a team (talentwise) that could rival a Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina and superior to UCLA, Oregon, USC and Arizona.

        • art thiel

          13 losses in a row established that the team wasn’t getting any better. No big-time program can be held hostage by one 17-year-old, no matter how good.

    • disqus_0fotImVld4

      So the UW lost another ‘one and done’ and you’re upset? Big deal.

  • tedsfrozenhead

    I am……underwhelmed

    • art thiel

      Lute Olsen isn’t coming to Seattle except to visit. Read up on this guy.

      • tedsfrozenhead

        Never said he wasn’t a good hire….just underwhelmed. I wonder hold have liked to have seen an established head coach though. Time will tell.

  • WestCoastBias79

    I’m pleasantly surprised. Getting a guy like Gregg Marshall was a pipe dream (he turned down UCLA… UW hoops is not UCLA), so was getting a mid-major coach cut from a similar cloth. Those guys are like Mark Few and are smart enough to know what they have in the current NCAA hoops landscape.

    Mike Hopkins was heir apparent at Syracuse and their lead recruiter. If you’ve noticed, Syracuse has had a wee bit more success than UW. If you read the Syracuse blogs, they’re all quite unhappy and freaking about losing recruits and what it means for their program. Syracuse fans, fans who expect Final Fours, are unhappy they lost a coach they believe can continue their tradition of Final Fours.

    This is way better than most of the names being floated. The bummer is having to watch a 2-3 zone…

    • art thiel

      This shapes up as potential coup. Hardly known in the West, Hopkinss time at Syracuse had all the success, turmoil and corruption of any big-time program. He’s ready for the top spot.

      • Gary

        lol!, nice one Art!

  • Jamo57

    Reading the article and watching the video clip in your two latest tweets, the first thing that comes to mind is I hope this is another case of a whiff by Pat Haden meaning a windfall for UW. Thanks for the background material, Art. I’m feeling more intrigued by this hire. The quick turnaround makes me wonder if the conversations started before the announcement was made on Romar.

    In any event, a very interesting hire.


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  • jafabian

    Very surprised UW went all the way out to the East Coast and did not get a Duke assistant. Coach Hopkins is not familiar with West Coast recruits nor does he have any sort of relationship with NW high school coaches at this time. I was hoping Brad Jackson would be given an opportunity to coach. 518 career wins at Western plus a national title in 2012 should be enough in my mind to be given a shot but I guess not. Not holding my breath that the recruiting class stays intact.

    • wabubba67

      Syracuse recruits nationally (he was in charge of that aspect of the program) and he has several substantive ties to the southern California athletic scene.

    • art thiel

      Geography is an increasingly smaller factor in program success.

  • Husky73

    He was looking for better weather…..He’s a recruiter and a teacher. Those are good qualities. If he can keep ONE player from the incoming recruiting class, he’ll have done well. He will see, however, what it’s like to be a basketball coach at a football school. He’s had it the other way for a long time.

    • art thiel

      He was hired quickly to salvage the other four members of the class.

  • Husky73

    After years of promises, he gave up and tried to get as far away from Syracuse as possible. Unfortunately, Hawaii and Alaska-Fairbanks did not have openings.

  • Effzee

    The one-and-done game seems like one for the shady to play. Its always a little like rolling the dice, never knowing what you’re going to get. How many runs into the tourney have we had once Romar started to play that game? I’d rather have guys we remember as contributing to the Husky program, than those who come here for the free cup of coffee. This guy seems more like a guy who will actually build a good program from the foundation up, which is exactly what we need. And if he does bolt for the Syracuse job after two seasons, then maybe someone he hires as an assistance steps in as more of a long-term solution, continuing the philosophy Hopkins brings.

  • woofer

    Seems like a solid realistic hire given the actual national status of the program. A couple of years ago everyone in Eugene was whining when the Ducks ended up with the relatively unknown Dana Altman. And, lest we forget, many more moons ago Romar landed in Seattle only because literally no one else of consequence wanted the job.

    • wabubba67

      If they were whining in Eugene, it was only because they were out of weed. Altman was a very well regarded young head coach at the time. Only those that didn’t know basketball and wanted a “big name” were disappointed when he was hired. As a Husky, I knew that the UO would become problematic.