Patrick Ewing has been grinding as an NBA assistant for well over 10 years now. In stint with the Rockets, Magic, and Hornets he’s done the work as an assistant. Yet, he’s never been hired as an NBA head coach. He’s had a small handful of interviews, but never has Ewing felt like a serious candidate for a head coaching position. It felt like, no matter how much work he put in, the Hall of Fame big man was never going to get his shot.
Recently, the head coaching position at Georgetown stunningly opened up. Ewing attended Georgetown back when John Thompson was forming it into the national power it would become today. He’s their most prestigious alumni and a large part of why people consider Georgetown a factory for NBA big men. Ewing has never shown an indication that he would be interested in taking a college job, but if there was ever a job for him to take this would be the one.
It looks like that will be exactly the case as, reported by multiple outlets, Patrick Ewing will leave the Hornets immediately to become the new head coach at Georgetown.
BREAKING: Georgetown has hired Patrick Ewing as head coach, a source confirms.— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) April 3, 2017
Finally, after years of work Ewing will become a head coach. It’s almost ridiculous that in a league that goes through coaches as quickly as the NBA does Ewing was never able to even get a shot as NBA head coach. In the span that Ewing has been grinding as an assistant, Kurt Rambis has horribly coached teams twice. Vinny Del Negro had two head coaching jobs. Mike Dunlap was head coach for a year. The Kings have fired more coaches than interviews Ewing has had. Mark Jackson got hired straight out of TV. Magic Johnson is president of the Lakers. That an NBA legend like Ewing can put in this much work, and never once get a shot, is absolutely ridiculous.
There is discussions around the league that Ewing just isn’t very good at selling himself in interviews and that has been a detriment to him getting jobs in the past. Personally, when speaking to him in person, he’s never given off that vibe but he’s probably not trying to advertise himself when speaking to media at Summer League. Former coach of Ewing, and the first coach he ever worked under as an assistant, Jeff Van Gundy has similar praise for Ewing.
Jeff Van Gundy tells @TheVertical: "Pat's personality has been misunderstood for so long that I can't get wait for him to show the masses….”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 3, 2017
Jeff Van Gundy continued on Ewing: …”his humor and intelligence and his core values when it comes to leadership.”— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 3, 2017
The tree that Ewing has worked under throughout his NBA tenure has been the Van Gundy tree. He worked with Jeff in Houston, Stan in Orlando, and Steve Clifford was an assistant under Stan in Orlando. He’s worked with successful NBA coaches for over 10 years and yet he had to go take a job somewhere that, before this particular job, was not somewhere he wanted to be.
All of this said, if Ewing had to move down to the college ranks at least it was Georgetown. This is the place that Ewing made his name and it’s the one job that he would have ever considered. He’s going “home” in a sense and that’s awesome for him. Will he succeed? Nobody knows, but at least he’s finally getting a chance. That’s something that’s been robbed of him for far too long.