Patrick Ewing is in his third year as a head coach for the Georgetown Hoyas, and has little to show for it. Georgetown’s recruiting has regressed since Ewing took over, and the Hoyas’ win percentage has only marginally increased when the Hoyas are playing the weakest strength of schedule in the past decade. To succeed as an coach in college basketball, the coach either has to recruit well or develop players well. Ewing does neither particularly well.
Starting with Ewing’s recruiting record, Georgetown’s recruiting has been the weakest it has been in the past decade. From 247 Sports, take a look at Hoya recruiting over the last ten years.
|Year||National Rank||Big East Ranking||Avg. Rating|
Ewing was hired in 2017, and his three recruiting classes thus far have been three of the worst four recruiting classes in the past decade as measured by average rating. The fourth of that group was John Thompson III’s final season as head coach at Georgetown.
But it makes some sense Ewing would not be a recruiting. His experience was coaching in the NBA and developing players. However, player development usually results in winning, which Ewing also has not done at Georgetown. Observe Georgetown’s record coming into this season.
Georgetown’s strength of schedule has been soft every year Ewing has been at the helm, but Georgetown certainly does not seem to be capitalizing on a schedule made up of milkmen and janitors.
One of the main distinctions between the Ewing hire at Georgetown and Chris Mullin’s hire at St. John’s was Ewing’s experience coaching in the NBA.
Prior to coaching for Georgetown, Ewing served as an assistant coach for multiple teams, including the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, and Charlotte Hornets. Prior to Ewing’s hire at Georgetown, he interviewed with multiple NBA teams and was never hired as an NBA head coach.
Ewing’s former coach, Jeff Van Gundy, who also hired Ewing as an assistant coach with the Rockets, said Ewing desrved an NBA head coaching job a long time ago. “I don’t think it’s unfair to say [racism played a part],” Van Gundy said in a phone interview shortly after Ewing’s hiring at Gerogetown. “Certainly, I think there’s some size bias involved. I think back when he played, some of the things that were allowed, the signs, what was said. Even when I coached in the NBA, there were some columns written that were racially tinged in all areas. I mean, I think it’s a combination of things.”
Based on Georgetown’s performance under Ewing, the NBA teams that did not hire Ewing potentially did not hire Ewing because he was not head coaching material, rather than because he is tall. When Ewing’s NBA coaching career receives closer observation, it is possible he was gifted every job he received.
First Ewing coached for the Washington Wizards in the 2002-2003 season. That was the Wizards team Michael Jordan played for in his final season. Ewing and Jordan’s friendship off the court is well documented, so it is possible Jordan wanted one of his guys working his side on the bench, not unlike LeBron getting Jason Kidd hired by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ewing’s next job was with the Houston Rockets, where he was hired by the aforementioned Jeff Van Gundy. Jeff Van Gundy was Ewing’s coach for several years with the New York Knicks, so like Jordan, Van Gundy may have just wanted a guy on his bench to echo his own voice and message.
After the Rockets, Patrick joined the Orlando Magic, coached by Jeff Van Gundy’s brother, Stan Van Gundy. Jeff was on his way out in Houston, Stan was just getting started in Orlando, so Van Gundy may have been doing his former player and loyal assistant a solid in getting his brother to hire Ewing to the Orlando staff.
Finally, after Orlando, Ewing joined the Charlotte staff. Michael Jordan became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets in 2010, so when Ewing became available, it is possible the fairly new owner wanted to make sure he could pack as many of his guys into as many jobs as he could.
Now how Ewing got all these jobs mentioned above is a matter of speculation. What are facts are Ewing had these jobs, interviewed for NBA head coaching jobs, did not get any NBA head coaching jobs, and accepted a position at Georgetown. Georgetown was Ewing’s alma mater. Ewing’s former coach, John Thompson II still maintains an office on the Georgetown campus.
So is there reason to believe that Ewing’s relationships got him every job after he retired from the NBA? Well yeah, if for no other reason than the old adage that it’s not what you know, it’s who you. It certainly has to be who Ewing knows as to why he is still coach at Georgetown, because as shown above, the Georgetown results are demonstrating what Ewing knows, and that’s not much.