Emotional meeting for Coach Boeheim and longtime assistant Mike Hopkins: Matt's Memo
The basketball season had just come to a stinging end. The Syracuse Orange lost a hard fought battle with Ole Miss on the Jim Boeheim Court. The late morning tip off meant the Hall of Fame Head Coach was home in time for lunch. He planned to settle into an afternoon of watching NCAA basketball. That's when Mike Hopkins came over to the house.
The head coach in waiting didn't have far to travel. The Hopkins family lives just a few houses away from the Boeheim's in a lovely neighborhood with a Fayetteville address. The 47 year old who first met his mentor at the age of 16 came with tears welling up in his eyes. He delivered the news that he had decided to take the head coaching job at Washington University in Seattle.
Coach Boeheim gave him a hug. They sat down and talked. Jim Boeheim listened as his top assistant described an opportunity too good to pass up. Hopkins would return to his native west coast to the university that is the alma mater of his ailing and aging father. The head coach who is widely viewed as tough, especially during the season, said he considered Mike's news as he would a son telling his father he was heading off on his own.
During a late afternoon gathering with the media Coach Boeheim repeated over and over how he views his relationship with the new head coach of the Washington Huskies like a father and son. This was not a goodbye. They two have talked several times today as Mike Hopkins builds his own program in the Pacific Northwest.
Over the last 22 years, both men have contributed to each other's success. Mike Hopkins would defer he owes all his to his 72 year old mentor. That's why he did the right thing and came to his front door Saturday afternoon to tell him it was time to move along.