Ewing finally lands dream job - Gets a big-up from Jordan

April 04, 2017
Patrick Ewing (left) and his son, Patrick Jr (right), reconnecting with their Jamaican roots in a photo op with veteran reggae crooner Beres Hammond.

 

WASHINGTON (AP):

Jamaica-born Patrick Ewing put Georgetown basketball on the map, turning the Hoyas into a national power as the menacing force in the middle in the 1980s.

Three decades later, Ewing is the Big Man on Campus again.

Georgetown hired Ewing on Monday, bringing the Hoyas legend back to take over a programme that had fallen on hard times over the past two seasons, and helping the former All-American centre finally realise his long-held dream of becoming a head coach.

"My four years at Georgetown were the best of my life," Ewing said in a statement issued by the school.

"Georgetown is my home and it is a great honour for me to return to my alma mater and serve as the next head coach. I have been preparing to be a head coach for many years and can't wait to return to the Hilltop."

In announcing the hire, Georgetown called Ewing "the greatest men's basketball player to ever don the Blue (and) Gray."

 

POWER TRANSFER

 

He led the Hoyas to the school's only national championship in 1984, and now he takes over for the son of the man who coached him at Georgetown in what is surely an emotional transfer of power.

John Thompson III, the son of Big John Thompson, was fired last month after consecutive losing seasons.

It was a decision that pained many at the school given the legacy of the Thompson name, but they filled the vacancy with perhaps the only name bigger in school annals.

Ewing was a three-time All-American at Georgetown, a fearsome presence in the paint, who led the Hoyas to three national title games.

His dominance and Big John's tenacity gave the programme an intimidating image that captivated fans locally and nationally, while paving the way for a long line of great centres, including Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.

After Georgetown, Ewing was the nu,mber one overall pick in the 1985 draft by the New York Knicks, was selected to 11 All-Star teams and remains Georgetown's career leader in blocked shots and rebounds.

While many big-name players find the path from playing to coaching relatively seamless, Ewing has had to work for this chance. He is leaving his position as associate head coach with the NBA's Charlotte Hornets to take the job, finally put an end to a 15-year pursuit.

 

ASSISTANT COACHING

 

He also served as an assistant for Washington, Houston and Orlando and spent every July coaching the Hornets' summer league team, never acting entitled despite his Hall of Fame credentials.

"Of all the players that have gone from superstardom to putting in the time and paying their dues to becoming a head coach, Patrick deserves this probably more than any player ever," said Miami Heat president Pat Riley, who coached Ewing with the Knicks.

"I am absolutely delighted for him and I think he'll do a great job at Georgetown. Patrick Ewing was the first. He has come home."

Hornets owner Michael Jordan said he was "overjoyed" for Ewing.

"I know that going home to Georgetown makes this very special for him," Jordan said. "He's been really patient and I'm glad his time has come."

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