Now we are getting into some of the more realistic options. Mike Hopkins, current head coach-in-waiting at Syracuse, has been mentioned for almost every high profile job opening so far this season, including Marquette. Last year, most speculatde he would have been the Head Coach at USC (close to his childhood home of Santa Ana) had it not been for the March Madness emergence of Dunk City and their head coach Andy Enfield. Hopkins agonized over the decision to leave Syracuse, his alma mater and the place he has called home as an Assistant Coach since 1996. In interviews last year, he endearingly told the story of him having to tell his son, who heard about his dad’s interest in the USC job on the radio, that they would be moving closer to Grandma and Grandpa. Hopkins did not end up with the job but his name has once again resurfaced and Boston College could be the school that finally lures him away.
Why Is He Available?
Although he is the heir to the throne in Syracuse, it is not clear when Jim Boeheim will be ready to abdicate. In his early 40s, Hopkins is not an old man but if he wishes to become a top tier college basketball coach, his head coaching career might have to get started sooner rather than later. Also, while I am sure he is one of the nation’s highest paid assistants, the pay raise that would come with a head coaching gig might be too big to pass up.
Why Should BC hire him?
He has recruited for one of the best teams in the nation, first and foremost. Outside of hiring someone who has already had head coaching success at a big time school (Jim Calhoun, for example…) hiring an assistant for one of the nation’s best schools might be BC’s best bet to nab a recruiter. His reputation around college basketball circles is a good one and given Syracuse’s confidence in him, it is safe to say he would come highly regarded.
Why Shouldn’t BC hire him?
He’s never been a head coach. BC will have their choice of someone like Amaker who has established he can win college basketball games as a head coach. Being a great assistant is one thing, being a great head coach is an entirely different animal. Hiring an assistant always comes with the risk that he might not be able to handle being the Top Dog in the yard. But all the great coaches have to start somewhere don’t they?
Chances He is the Next Head Coach at Boston College?
Out of everyone I’ve written about, I’d give him the highest chance. He is someone who you can build a program with and has experience recruiting nationally for a big time program, something Boston College sorely needs. Given the amount he agonized over leaving Syracuse for USC, he might not want to put his children through this type of transition. And he also might be looking for a higher profile job with less of a rebuilding need. But I would expect AD Brad Bates to put out a strong feeler on Hopkins. If he’s interested there’s a chance he could be Donahue’s replacement.