So far this season, there have been three coaching developments that have either been shocking, surprising or bordering on tragedy.
The first is Chris Beard at Texas. Accused of domestic violence, Beard has since been fired by UT.
The second is John Calipari. If you overlook the NCAA issues, Calipari had immense success at UMass, Memphis and Kentucky, where he was venerated until recently.
Patrick Ewing at Georgetown.
John Thompson had built a solid program at Georgetown before Ewing arrived in 1981, just two years after the Big East was founded. Ewing put it into another orbit.
A highly mobile 7-0 center and a shotblocker who brought up memories of Bill Russell with his sheer dominance, Ewing had a brilliant career at Georgetown.
After John Thompson abruptly retired in 1999, assistant Craig Escherick took over. He lasted five seasons and ran up a 103-74 record.
He was replaced by John Thompson III, son of Esherick’s old boss, who finished 278-151 with the Hoyas. He was a solid coach but with just one Final Four season and generally exiting the post-season fairly early, he didn’t live up to expectations. His last season was 14-18 and after he was fired, Ewing was hired.
And in fairness to Ewing, he came in with a great reputation as an NBA assistant coach.
Sadly, his career as Georgetown’s coach has not gone well.
Ewing’s first four years were at least mediocre but last season, the Hoyas finished 6-25 and 0-19 in the Big East.
So far this season, he’s 5-13 and 0-8 in the Big East. That’s an awful 27-game conference losing streak and even for a program legend, a founding father even, there’s a limit to what fans will tolerate.
And so the rebellion has begun. Georgetown students chanted “Fire Ewing!” as the Hoyas lost to Seton Hall Tuesday.
A Georgetown Web site has promised to shut down if Ewing is not fired before Saturday’s game against Villanova.
We mention it for a couple of reasons. First, it’s another example of a program where fans expect that standards will always be the same. That’s completely unrealistic, as Kentucky is currently proving.
And second, because this job is likely to open soon. We don’t think the Hoyas have too many options within the family, so they’ll have to look outside of the Hoya Nation.
And that could be a fascinating search.