Washington head coach and longtime Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins has recently become a name in the Pitt coaching search after both Jeff Goodman and ESPN and Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com both reported that there was interest between the parties.
At a press conference in Seattle on Thursday, Hopkins denied the report, but only sort of. He didn’t mention the Pitt job by name or say that he wasn’t leaving Washington.
“Don’t believe what you read,” Hopkins said. “Every year, they’re going to have ‘sources.’ Three months ago, I have was involved with three different jobs. At the end of the day, me and my family are exceptionally happy here. I work for a great leader in (athletic director) Jen Cohen. I wanted to go some place where we could build something special and be part of a great organization and surround yourself with great people and I think I’ve done that.”
Hopkins just finished his first season in Washington, going 21-13 and losing in the second round of the NIT. Before that, he spent 22 years as an assistant at his alma mater, Syracuse.
Hopkins is currently making $1.8 million on a contract that runs through the 2022-23 season and is worth a total of $12.3 million. He would owe the Huskies a $2 million buyout in order to leave.
Here’s the full video of Hopkins’ press conference:
Hopkins is one of three names, along with Buffalo’s Nate Oats and St. Bonaventure’s Mark Schmidt, that have risen to the top of Pitt’s coaching search in the wake of Tom Crean choosing Georgia, Dan Hurley choosing Connecticut and Arizona’s Sean Miller denying his candidacy for the job.
The athletic committee of Pitt’s board of trustees is holding a meeting on Friday, and it’s expected that the coaching search will dominate the conversation.