Cooley leaving PC to become head coach at Georgetown

Updated at 2:48 p.m.

PROVIDENCE – The Ed Cooley era is over at Providence College. 

Cooley, who has been PC men’s basketball coach for 12 seasons, was named head coach of Georgetown University on Monday. 

He will be officially introduced as the Hoyas men’s basketball head coach during a press conference on March 22.

“We are deeply honored that Coach Cooley will be joining our community as the next leader of our Men’s basketball program,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “Ed is a proven leader and an experienced coach, whose values and knowledge of the game will lead our program into this new chapter.”

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Sources told Fox Sports that Georgetown is expected to offer Cooley a $6 million per year contract. Sources added that Cooley was emotional about leaving his hometown, however the opportunity to resurrect Georgetown basketball and follow in the footsteps of one of his idols, Hall of Fame coach John Thompson, was too big of an opportunity to pass on.

According to news reports, Cooley’s house in East Greenwich went up for sale on Monday for $1.9 million. However, Cooley signed for the house to be listed on March 3, the day before the Friars fell to Seton Hall, 82-58 in their Big East regular season finale. 

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the men’s basketball program at Georgetown University,” Cooley said in statement from Georgetown. “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.”

In a statement Monday, Providence College President the Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard and Athletics Director Steve Napolillo confirmed Cooley’s departure, announcing that the college will begin a national search for a men’s basketball coach.

“I deeply appreciate Coach Cooley’s immense contributions to the men’s basketball program and to the PC community over the past 12 years,” Sicard said. “Friar fans everywhere will be forever grateful for this period of sustained excellence in our program, and I personally will continue to have the highest regard for Ed. I wish him, Nurys, and their family the best in their future.”

Cooley signed a mutiyear contract extension at Providence College in September. Napolillo told Providence Business News at the time that Cooley’s annual salary will be at least seven figures through the duration of the extension. Napolillo also said the extension is a “long-term commitment from both sides” and Cooley will “end his college career at Providence College.” 

“It’s a deal that compensates Ed [Cooley] at the highest level of what he deserves, being one of the best coaches in the country,” Napolillo said, “and being a great ambassador for the institution.” 

Cooley led the Friars to a 21-11 overall record in 2022-23 before bowing to Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Cooley guided PC to its first Big East Conference regular season championship in 2021-2022 and the team advanced to the “Sweet 16” round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament back in March for the first time since 1997. 

For his efforts, Cooley was named the 2022 Werner Ladder Naismith coach of the year. He is the first PC men’s basketball coach to earn a national coach of the year accolades since 1987 when Rick Pitino, who led the Friars to the NCAA Final Four that year, won the National Association of Basketball Coaches coach of the year. 

A powerhouse in the 80s, Georgetown has only had one NCAA Tournament appearance in the last eight years, including a 75-109 record under former head coach Patrick Ewing, who was fired on March 9. 

Cooley and former Georgetown coach John Thompson developed a special bond over the years. Thompson, who led Georgetown and Ewing to three Final Four appearances and a national championship in 1984, first met Cooley in 1987 when Thompson sat in on one of Cooley’s practices at Central High School.  

Cooley is a native of Providence who earned two Rhode Island High School Player of the Year honors.

(Update: Confirmation and from Georgetown, Cooley added)