Sources: Georgetown to hire Providence’s Ed Cooley as head coach

Barring a last-moment change of heart, Ed Cooley will be the next head men’s basketball coach at Georgetown, sources tell FOX Sports.

In a ground-shaking move in college basketball, and particularly the Big East Conference, one of the sport’s historic programs will hire a coach from within the league as its next leader.

In 12 seasons in his hometown of Providence, Cooley took the Friars to seven NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16 run, while winning 242 games, second only to Joe Mullaney in Providence history.

He transformed Providence basketball over the last decade, elevating the program to a Big East Tournament championship in 2014 and the first regular-season title in program history in 2022.

Sources close to Cooley say that he was emotional in making this move within the Big East and took several days to weigh the decision to leave his hometown, but the opportunity to resurrect Georgetown basketball and follow in the footsteps of one of his idols, John Thompson, was too big of an opportunity to pass on. Sources tell FOX Sports that Georgetown will pay Cooley close to $6 million per year.

Sources tell FOX Sports that several weeks ago, Providence presented Cooley with a proposal for a new contract deal that included significant financial upgrades to both his and his staff’s salaries along with performance incentives. 

Cooley previously agreed to a contract extension with the Friars last September.

Providence first-year athletic director Steve Napolillo, who Cooley was instrumental in getting the job after the retirement of Bob Driscoll last year, told FOX Sports that the college did everything to keep Cooley.

But this decision for Cooley was about more than just the money, sources say. It has more to do with the national profile and tradition of the Georgetown job. 

The Hoyas are in dire need of a program changer, and that is evident in the commitment the program is making. With just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the last eight years — and that coming in bid-stealing fashion at the 2021 NCAA Tournament — Georgetown went 75-109 during six years of the Patrick Ewing era.

The program sank to the bottom of the Big East and over the past two seasons had a streak of 29 consecutive losses in conference games.

In this search, Cooley was the target from the get-go, as the Hoyas sought a candidate who was a proven winner, understands the program’s tradition and can reinvigorate a fan base starving for a new day. 

Cooley grew a bond with the late Thompson, who powered Georgetown to three Final Four appearances and a national championship in 1984. He first met Thompson in Rhode Island in 1987, when Thompson sat in on a practice at Cooley’s high school, Central, while the Hoyas prepared to visit Providence.

In 2007, when Cooley took Fairfield into Washington, D.C. for a road game at Georgetown, Thompson sought out the coach of the Stags after the game, telling him that there was something about him that he loved. 

Now, that special bond takes a whole new chapter. Cooley views Georgetown as an opportunity where he can put one of the proud brands in college basketball history back on the map, and increase the chances of making a Final Four and national championship game in his career in the process. 

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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