I heard something yesterday on the Brent Axe‘s radio show on The Score 1260 in Syracuse and thought I would put my spin on it. With UCLA having it’s problems of late and Syracuse’s head coach Jim Boeheim unlikely to be leaving any time soon, would it sound crazy if Mike Hopkins, the assistant head coach and head coach in waiting, was to be contacted by the west coast college? And ever more so, would it be crazy if the California native decided to take the head coaching there if offered?
Before I go on let me say, just like Axe did on his show, there is no rumors of this going around, this is plain and simple “thinking out loud” post because in a way it is intriguing.
Hopkins has been back at Syracuse since 1995 and about four years ago the new athletic director, Dr. Daryl Gross, selected him as the man who would take over once Boeheim was done. But for now the man at the helm has given no indications of wanting to leave and when it comes to college basketball does it get much bigger than UCLA? If the stars aligned right and the Orange won it all this year, making Hopkins’ stock rise, why wouldn’t a good assistant coach like him not think about jumping. Someone named Roy Williams did it, going from being Dean Smith’s assistant to Kansas, and that worked out well enough. And for those that say he has been offered before, the my counter point would be, has he ever been offered by any school as big as UCLA? I doubt it.
On the other hand, all of this might be more feasible if Boeheim had 5-7 years left before thinking of retiring, giving Hopkins a nice cushion to do his work elsewhere and then come back to his alma mater when the opening became available. As it stands now I doubt that Boeheim will go much longer than three more years and that would not even fill one full recruiting cycle, making no sense for either Hopkins or for UCLA. And especially if the Sports Illustrated article is close to the truth it would take a lot more time than a couple of years to fix all the problems.
Which would in turn make one think: if Mike Hopkins did leave for the long beach state would that then mean that Syracuse would be in search of another head coach once the present one retired? The answer would have to be a yes, but fortunately for the SU fan base I doubt this will happen and once the old guard steps down you will see Hopkins as the new man leading the Orange for years to come. In a day and age where head coaches are given very little time to make it work SU will give Hopkins a lot more because of the work he has done since arriving on the hill, doubtful he would trade that for anything, even if it was UCLA.