The excitement was palpable on Wednesday afternoon at the Thompson Athletic Center as Ed Cooley was formally introduced to the Hilltop as the new head coach of the Hoyas men’s basketball team.
In the presence of countless members of the media, alumni, fans, and students, Cooley spoke his first words as a Hoya. He began with a clear effort to honor and connect with Hoyas of the past by asking any former players in attendance to join him up front.
In the midst of the controversy surrounding his move to Georgetown, Cooley recognized how challenging it was to leave his home and the program he helped build up over the last 12 years at Providence College.
“It was going to take a very special place for me to leave home. It is hard,” Cooley said.
Yet, this challenge is one he seems more than willing to take up. “We’re not going to win a little, we’re going to win a lot,” Cooley promised.
As for how he’s going to do it, recruitment jumped out as a big priority. “I promise you, we need to lock [the DMV] down.” There was a particular focus on bringing in “not the best players, but the best people that are good players, that have incredible integrity, that have character, that have passion, that want to be champions.”
Cooley’s emphasis on including the entire community in the Georgetown basketball revival efforts was another strong theme of the press conference. “We’re not going to be good,” he said. “We’re going to be special. That specialty is going to come from our alumni, our fanbase, our season ticket holders, our former players.”
He didn’t forget the students, of course. In a one-on-one sit down with the Voice, Cooley made it very clear: “I want to meet every student. I’m going to ask them to give us a chance. Even if we struggle early, hang in there with us … we want passion and energy, but we need every student.”
For a program that has often isolated itself from the student body, this is an incredibly refreshing perspective. “You’ll see me on campus.” Just hours after his introductory press conference, Cooley was seen in the Leavey Center shaking hands and taking pictures with students before continuing on to meet the early evening dinner crowd at Leo’s.
Many will ask what brought Cooley to Georgetown, an in-conference rival of his former school. To some, it seems like a perplexing move. To Cooley, the move just made sense. “I thought about being with my daughter [a senior at Georgetown] more, because I don’t think my daughter is going back up to the Northeast,” explained Cooley. “Being in the presence of my children more, I can be the dad that I want to be.”
Even beyond that, though, Cooley talked about how it was a “dream” of his to be at Georgetown. “It all started because someone looked like me, spoke like me, and was big like me,” he said, referring to John Thompson Jr. and his status as a role model and a trailblazer for Black America. Cooley repeatedly made sure to honor the past, but promised that he would not try to be Coach Thompson.
“I’m going to be Ed,” he stated. To Cooley, this is a new era for Georgetown basketball. “When we build this identity, this identity will be about all of us, not just the basketball team.”
His promise to the Georgetown community? “Nobody will outwork this group. Nobody. There won’t be one staff in the country that will outwork the staff that is about to arrive … If they do, we will have new staff members,” stated Cooley.
“I promise you, people are going to want to wear this G more than anything they have wanted to wear in their life.”
“It’s the blossom season,” Cooley said. “We’re going to blossom as big as anything in America.”