How Much Could Georgetown Basketball Improve Under Ed Cooley?

How Much Could Georgetown Basketball Improve Under Ed Cooley?
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The Georgetown Hoyas made a seismic move in the school’s quest to resurrect its once-storied men’s basketball program last week, hiring longtime Providence head coach Ed Cooley as their newest coach on the Hill. The move should catch the attention of futures market watchers at Virginia sportsbook apps.

Cooley comes to Georgetown after spending 12 years with Big East rival Providence. Cooley, 53, won 221 of 362 games with the Friars, reaching the NCAA Tournament six times and winning a conference tournament title in 2014 with the program.

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Hoyas Recent History Bleak

The longtime Big East leader replaces Georgetown playing legend Patrick Ewing, who never established his footing at his alma mater. Ewing posted a .408 winning percentage and lost 50 of his final 63 games as head coach with the program.

Now, Cooley is tasked with getting the Hoyas back to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2007 and perhaps even to the program’s second national title. That seems to be a task that the longtime head coach is ready to take on, based on his comments during an introductory press conference on Monday.

He also mentioned how he’ll need to establish connections in and around the general Washington D.C. area, which includes part of Virginia.

"I am excited for the opportunity to lead the men's basketball program at Georgetown University.  President (John) DeGioia and Athletics Director Lee Reed are united in a strong vision, including in their beliefs, for Georgetown's program, its players and the team's success,” Cooley said. “I plan on hitting the ground running, getting to work on the court and cultivating relationships in and around the District. Accepting this opportunity with Georgetown is not a decision I took lightly and was made in careful consideration with my wife and family.” used to see whether Cooley can post a better win percentage at Georgetown than his predecessor. Since Ewing took over in the 2017-18 season, Cooley led Providence to two NCAA Tournament bids and the 2021-22 regular season conference title. Ewing led Georgetown to one Big East tournament title and his lone NCAA bid in 2021.

Providence vs. Georgetown Since 2017-18

Season Providence Georgetown
2017-18 .600 .500
Average .616.408

Can Ed Cooley Resurrect Georgetown Basketball?

This isn’t the first time that the Hoyas have been tasked with rebuilding their basketball program. The Hoyas needed a facelift in 2005 when the school fired Craig Esherick after the former player posted a 103-74 (.582) record as head coach.

The answer then was a name familiar to anyone that has ever watched Georgetown basketball, as former Princeton head coach John Thompson III took over the reins in the job that his father, John, helmed for 27 seasons.

The younger Thompson did the job, by and large, with a .648 winning percentage and three Big East regular-season titles between 2005 and 2017, though the man known as “JT3” fell off at the end with consecutive losing seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Now, Cooley is tasked with launching a similar reboot in the nation’s capital, as he’ll try to one-up Thompson’s six-game, year-over-year improvement during his first year with the program in 2005-06.

That season, the Hoyas improved from 13-15 to 19-13, failing to make the NCAA Tournament but setting the table for a three-year run that saw them reach the Big Dance three straight years. That included the Final Four in 2007, the program’s first in 22 years.

Cooley Aims To Build on Two Thompson Legacies

If Cooley can follow a similar narrative to the younger Thompson, then Hoyas fans can expect the program to post a .500 season in 2023-24, before launching to familiar heights in the years ahead.

That will be music to Georgetown fans  who have watched the program go from the penthouse of the elder Thompson era to relative obscurity, only to rebound to those lofty heights and crash again under Ewing.

Now, it’s on Cooley to work traditional recruiting outlets and the transfer portal to get the kind of talent needed to resurrect a basketball program in today’s day and age. His path at Providence should give Georgetown fans confidence and perhaps give fans a reason to take a gander at sportsbook operators – the ones that offer Virginia betting promos – for futures odds wagers down the road.

With the Friars, Cooley took an over-the-hill program that went nine seasons between tournament berths and turned it into a March regular. He was 15-17 in his first season, 2011-12, and 19-15 in his second, before rattling off five straight March Madness berths.

Cooley’s task is to recreate that magic with one of the nation’s premier basketball programs, getting the Hoyas back to the sport’s biggest stage after half a decade of national irrelevance.



Christopher Boan has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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