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How Much Longer Can Syracuse Hold On to Mike Hopkins?

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Another coaching vacancy, another mention of Orange assistant coach Mike Hopkins.

Hopkins was a finalist over the weekend for the head coaching position at Oregon State, following the firing of Craig Robinson. However, the Beavers announced yesterday that Wayne Tinkle, who last coached at Montana, would take over the heading coaching duties in Corvallis.

Just how much longer can Syracuse keep a hold of Hopkins until he finally spurs the Orange and takes a head coaching job elsewhere?

Since 2007, it has been known that Hopkins is Jim Boeheim’s successor to take over the Syracuse basketball program. But the “coach in waiting” has been interviewing at other schools quite a bit recently, a sign that he might be tired of waiting for Boeheim to retire.  UCLA, USC, Marquette and Boston College are a few of the schools that have shown high interest in Hopkins over the past two years.

As we mentioned a few months ago, Hopkins’ best option would be to stay at Syracuse until Boeheim calls it quits. Syracuse has a strong basketball program with excellent recruiting and consistent NCAA Tournament appearances. If Hopkins were to leave the program to be the head coach at a lesser program, he would have to build up recruiting and take a program from the bottom to the top. The time he would spend if he left now would just be used to build up a program for a few years, which is no guarantee. Syracuse gives Hopkins the opportunity to take the reins from a hall-of-fame coach and start coaching a program he has played for and has coached on the sidelines for 18 years.

The question on everyone’s mind now is when Boeheim will retire and if it will be soon enough before Mike Hopkins decides to move elsewhere. Although there is nothing Boeheim hates more than reporters asking him when he is going to retire, the question is valid, especially as there are strong signs that Mike Hopkins has the itch to be the head coach wherever he is offered.

During conference realignment, Boeheim stated how he wanted to stay with the program at least until the transition period from the Big East to the ACC was over. From Hopkins perspective, that is a good reason to wait. Although the California native makes great connections with players and has been a successful recruiter for years, Boeheim is a major reason why top recruits around the country come to SU. A smooth transition from a hall-of-fame coach to a very experienced assistant is crucial for Syracuse to continue to be a Top 25 team every year.

Hopkins’ name seems to be appearing anytime there is a coaching vacancy in college basketball. Just like how Duke’s former longtime assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski took the head coaching job at Marquette, it is only a matter of time until Hopkins leaves—unless Boeheim at least sets a timeframe for a coaching transition.

Posted by: Zephan Mayell

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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