In an 2015 interview, new Washington men's basketball coach Mike Hopkins opens up about his coaching philosophy. 'I like to say family first, family forever,' he said.

Share story

New Washington men’s basketball coach Mike Hopkins is reputed to be an remarkable recruiter and intense motivator who learned from Jim Boeheim, the Hall of Fame coach at Syracuse.

In a 2015 story by WSTM-TV in Syracuse, the former Orange assistant talked about his coaching philosophy.

Here are a few snippets.

(On recruiting) “At the end of the day, I’ll treat your son like he’s my son. At the end of the day, everybody can be there when it’s good. Who’s going to be there when it’s tough.”

(On being a part of an all-Syracuse staff) “I like to say family first, family forever. We’re one of two schools that the whole entire staff went to Syracuse and played here. I think that’s a huge advantage. Like I said, it’s sincere. It’s authentic. It’s real. It’s not phony. I think that at the end of the day it wins.”

(On Boeheim hiring him) “I thought it was down and out in Beverly Hills. I thought it was over. Like, my dad can’t hire me. I’ve been fired more times in the last year and a half. I can’t play. I have no ambition to play basketball again. And I’m watching the O.J. Simpson trial. I’m depressed eating Fritos on the couch to try to get up. And at the end of the day, I started giving individual lessons. And it was like this time, timing A, timing, timing O, I’m coachi(ng. And that’s why I think it’s my calling. I believe that, you know, someone was looking down on me.”

(On nearly getting the USC job in 2013) “For that was home. Having a chance to go home and my mom and dad being there and having an opportunity of my father seeing me become a head coach – I think that’s important to me too. I thought I was the right guy. Any time you lose. I really believe things happen for a reason. I remember getting the call. And they said … I thought it was a done (deal). And I get the call saying I didn’t get it. And I was almost shocked.”

(On if he’d ever leave Syracuse) “I never want to say never, but it would have to be a really special situation with some with some pretty special people because I always want to grow and I want to keep getting better. We were talking about earlier, I worked for some great coaches. I learned from the best. I’ve been to the best colleges. I’ve learned from the greatest to ever do it and now the only thing I haven’t done is sit up there call the timeout.”

(On Syracuse winning the NCAA tournament in 2003) “I felt like a player. Like I was running around, and going. I did like the … (Carmelo) was there and I was like jumping in on the pile. And you know because, you know, I coach like I play. That’s how I am. I want to be a part of that.”

It’s phenomenal insight into the man tabbed to revive a UW program that’s missed the NCAA tournament the past six years.

Here’s Part 2.

And here’s Hopkins teaching Syracuse’s 2-3 matchup zone.