Mike’s Hot: Should Syracuse Fans Finally Be Worried About Hopkins Leaving?

What would happen to SU recruiting if Hopkins were to finally leave and take the Trojans job?


The Mike Hopkins head coaching rumors annually swirl this time of year. As we creep toward the tournament, there’s always a major conference school searching for the next great young assistant. And sometimes the arrow lands on Hop. Understandably so. He’s learned under a Hall of Fame coach for decades. Hop has proven his worth on the recruiting trail. He’s approachable and charismatic.

But he’s also ours.

I graduated from SU in ’01, and while working at WAER radio as a student we ran a segment called “Mike Check.” Before every basketball game one of the play-by-play broadcasters did a five minute chat with Hop. Every game. For a student radio station. And he couldn’t have been more respectful of young, nerve-racked broadcasters. So I spoke to Hop a bunch. And I remember thinking, “Man, he’s been an assistant here for a long time. He’s gonna get antsy and leave for another job.” 

That was 12 years ago.

In that time all Hop has done is enhance his nearly impeccable reputation around college basketball. He’s regarded as easily one of the top lieutenants in the nation, who has shown superhuman patience and loyalty.

So the fact Jim Boeheim confirmed Hop has spoken to USC  about its job is not that all that concerning, right? Right?

From Jeff Goodman at CBSSports.com:

“Hopkins would be a home run for Haden and USC. Sure, he’s just an assistant coach – but he’s also the next Syracuse basketball coach. That means Haden would hire someone who left the opportunity to coach a top-10 program on the table. That’s called winning the press conference.

Hopkins is a California kid who graduated from prep power Mater Dei and would bring energy into a program that has been largely irrelevant for the last few years. Hopkins can recruit both coasts and has both played and coached under a Hall of Famer in Boeheim.

Would he take the job? Hopkins declined to comment when reached, but sources told CBSSports.com that he feels as though USC is a sleeping giant on the West Coast. That’s accurate – for the right guy. Hopkins would be an ideal fit, especially while the West Coast is ripe and vulnerable in recruiting circles.” 

Hop would make a great USC coach. He could win there, and win big. He could recruit, and be back home, and succeed at a place with much deeper athletic budgets than SU.

But if he’s lasted this long at Syracuse, why would he bolt now? We’re clearly in the twilight of Boeheim’s career. We don’t know if it’ll be one year, or two. But we know it’s not five. It may not even be three. So it’s like camping out for tickets for a week, only to head home when they start turning on the lights in the box office because you’re cold.

It doesn’t mean Orange Nation rests comfortably. There’s only so much waiting one man can do. Boeheim’s 68. I can’t imagine he isn’t giving Hop honest insight on how long he’s going to keep going. Then again, maybe Boeheim doesn’t know. And maybe the USC gig for a SoCal kid is pretty enticing.

And maybe…


Posted: D.A.

26 Comments on this Post

  1. @D.A.–if Syracuse were ever to let Hopkins go, ALL HELL WOULD BREAK LOSE. He’s the next head basketball coach of Syracuse University.

    As much as I love and respect Coach Boeheim for what he’s accomplished here,it just might be time that he thinks seriously about retiring and handing the program over to the youngsters.

  2. Mike should leave Syracuse. Why should he be expected to wait for a job that he isclearly ready for. Jimmy has been coasting for the last few years riding his recruiting success.Even that aspect is suspect when you consider his miscalculation on Coleman.Now that the Big East and Syracuse is dead he will want a shot at the new conference before he stays at home and golfs his way into the rest home. Mike is a Caifornia man and wants to return there eventually. Who can blame him?

  3. This year shows that the coaching staff might not be what all fans think it is. I’m nuts for saying this but since Bernie left this team has not shown any life on the court!! JB has lost this team!! HOP might think its time and I don’t blame him at all!!

  4. ” since Bernie left this team has not shown any life on the court!! ”
    Because Bernie was such an intense,energy guy! Right?

  5. orangeinva

    I think JB coaches 1 year in the ACC and then moves on. I think JB gets somewhat of a nostalgic kick playing the NOVAs the Johnnies etc. Now its traveling to NC to play Wake or Bburg to play VaTech. In his mind it just isn’t the same. JB isn’t getting any younger but his kids are getting older fast. The end may be closer than we suspect.

  6. Losing HOP would be a bad thing since he is the nucleus of our recruiting efforts and he and Coach B do a great job with this team. Would he be a success at USC.. hell yeah and a bigger success if JB decides to hang it up.

    Hoping he stays put… GO SU and hope we will get a win tomorrow

  7. Bernie was the big guy coach!!

  8. Back to football talk fella’s; When Nancy Cantor came here Syracuse’s debt was $150 million. During her 8 years as chancellor she has spent $356 million on all of the new on campus construction and will leave the school in debt $400 millions dollars when she leaves in 2014.

    Under her leadership she has done to Syracuse University what she accomplished at the University of Illinois. IMO she doesn’t care a damn thing about the athletic programs.

    Now the question is being asked on how the university can get money for the new indoor practice facility for the football program. I think the lowest amount spent during this great on campus expansion was $36 million for one of the buildings. I think Nancy and the boys that are in power can come up with $17 million more to fund the indoor practice facility.
    What say you all guys? I think she should become a little flexible and do what’s right for the team.

  9. Carlton

    Clean house maybe? Only way I’d be ok /w hop leaveing is if Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens where in line to take over. Otherwise gross would probably hire somone that would set the bball program back 15yrs just like he did /w fball.

  10. Maybe more worried about Coach B staying should be the worry. Years ago the complaint was he was too controlling — now, he doesn’t enough. He was really, really good for SU BB but maybe he needs to retire and let a change occur.

  11. BigDipWisdom

    HCJB .. 1. The zone officially “busted” this season
    2. Man to man may’ve helped a game, or two: 0% used
    3. The percentage game.. works when teams dont have ELITE shooters
    4. GU Marq UofL …. they have shooters!
    5. And his challenge to the players was “being known as the SU team w/ no heart!”……uh, thats accurate. But pressing defense, down 20 pts, after allowing a open jumpshot every possession…….
    isnt a good in- game adjustment by a HOF coach.

  12. Well,to look on the bright side of the season,we only have 2 more games to suffer through,one in the Big East Tournament and one in the NCAA tournament.

    I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a Syracuse Team play so poorly for such a long period of time. Season will soon be over and we can all start talking about the football team again.

  13. According to Bilas,Mike is goneWhat shock!Thanks Jim,Its time to go old man. Those links are waiting. You have already waited too long.You have tons of money a very attractive wife and kids and time to travel lecture and play golf. If you are not already on the Boadof Trustees,you will be adding to your bank account for life.

  14. Syracuse received it’s first 2014 football recruit.

    5’9″ 190lb 3* RB Naesean Howard out of West Genesee High School Camillus NY.

    Terrie it’s a start and this news should make you happy. I guess now I’m going to have to come watch him play some games this fall.

    From the looks of things Fayetteville-Manlius has a couple more sought after recruits. Should be interesting to watch.

  15. Carlton

    Well that was an awful game didn’t even watch the last 10mins. We don’t play man but we made a little run to get back into it and we just went back into a zone when they should have pressed. Did SU play bad? Sure but JB got out coached as well. I don’t know if hop leaves or not. He’s waited this long an can clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just don’t think he will bail. USC is not a bball power. Leaving SU to go to USC be like trading ferri for a camerey. Those writers are just trying to drive page clicks everyone needs to chill. An if he does leave I feel we go an grab Shaka or Stevens. No big deal.

  16. LilJoe47

    Brad Stevens will not be leaving Butler…. That has been proven over the last couple of years…. Shaka? Maybe…

  17. LilJoe47

    But don’t sell Syracuse short…. Syracuse is a Top 5 program, and would be attractive to ANYONE….. I could see John Beilein being interested in coming back to Central NY…. Niagra alum, former LeMoyne coach… Syracuse is the better gig when compared to Michigan. Basketball will always be 2nd fiddle at Michigan… Not here.

  18. Carlton

    That’s not true. No program the caliber of SU has come open. So to say he wouldn’t leave is laughable. Huge difference in just being able to offer him a ton of cash an telling him to rebuild then him walking into a situation where he would beable to land 4-5star guys from day 1 an make a ton of cash as well.

  19. Carlton

    Exactly sorry Illinois is not a power. Either is USC. I don’t know what other jobs have come open but those are the 2 I know off the top of my head. He’s never gonna get the 5star players to come to butler. Zeller didn’t lyles isn’t just won’t happen. Outside KU, UNC , Duke and UK SU is the best job u can get. The question he gots to ask himself does he wanna keep praying for half court shots to fall or does he wanna pound them?

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