The long-anticipated end of the Patrick Ewing era at Georgetown has come. The school fired Ewing on Thursday, a day removed from the Hoya's first-round loss in the Big East Tournament to Villanova.
The school announced Ewing "will no longer serve" as Georgetown's coach.
"Patrick Ewing is the heart of Georgetown basketball," Georgetown president John J. DeGioia said in a statement. "I am deeply grateful to Coach Ewing for his vision, his determination, and for all that he has enabled Georgetown to achieve. Over these past six years, he was tireless in his dedication to his team and the young men he coached and we will forever be grateful to Patrick for his courage and his leadership in our Georgetown community."
It's an ironic, depressing twist for Georgetown: The player responsible for the highest of highs of Hoyas hoops also, decades later, wound up being in charge of the lowest of lows as its coach. Ewing lasted six seasons at GU and went 75-109, including a 28-81 record in Big East regular-season play. The past two seasons were the program's nadir: a 29-game season-over-season losing streak to conference opponents, a notorious record not just in the Big East, but in the modern era of any high-major league.
Ewing's lone bright spot came in 2021, when the Hoyas rallied as a No. 8 seed to win the Big East Tournament. Even then, the feat was bittersweet: Georgetown pulled off the unlikely run at the same site the conference has held its postseason tournament the past 41 years — Madison Square Garden — only it did so amid the pandemic and without fans in attendance. Georgetown earned a No. 12 seed in that year's NCAA Tournament and promptly lost to Colorado in the first round.
With Ewing now out, a new era for Georgetown basketball — and not just because there will be a new coach. For the first time since 1972, the Hoyas would appear to be set to hire someone with no connections to the late John Thompson Jr., who built GU into a national brand in the 1980s and ranks among the most important and widely known coaches in college basketball history. Thompson retired in 1999 and was succeeded by his assistant, Craig Esherick, who was succeeded in 2005 by Thompson's son, John Thompson III. A rickety end to Thompson III's run in 2017 opened a pathway for Ewing to take his coaching dream job. But it simply did not pan out. Georgetown finished eighth or worse in the Big East in five of Ewing's six season on the Hilltop.
With the job vacant, Georgetown will rank among the most desirable job openings in this year's hiring cycle. But unlike other spots, Georgetown has lacked for relevance over the past decade-plus. At its best, Georgetown is viewed as a program with powerhouse potential, a place where national title contenders can be built. But Georgetown hasn't been at its best, save for one or two seasons, for nearly 30 years.
There has been an expectation in the industry dating back to last offseason that 2022-23 would spell the end of Ewing's tenure, and with that in mind, sone names that have been floated in recent weeks include Iona's Rick Pitino, former Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and Providence's Ed Cooley.