Reaching 20 wins, Mike Hopkins wins PAC-12 Coach of the Year

Reaching 20 wins, Mike Hopkins wins PAC-12 Coach of the Year

I did not expect it and I would call you a liar if you expected the University of Washington Huskies to be any better than they were last year. The 2016-2017 Huskies were not even able to win 10 games with the 1st round draft pick, Markelle Fultz and head coach Lorenzo Romar. However, after 5 years of failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, new head coach Mike Hopkins won 11 more games than last year. The results do not guarantee an NCAA tournament in his 1st year; however, it shows more progress than we have seen from his predecessor.

“Coach Hop is an amazing coach,” Dickerson said. “You can see what he’s done. … He turned what we used to know and turned us into something totally new — something different. It took us a little while, but we finally bought in. And you see at this point we’re 20-11. I don’t remember the last time I won this many games in a season. “Twenty is a lot of games and 20-11 as a first-year head coach is pretty crazy, especially when you don’t have time to bring all new kids in and things like that and you just take over. So he’s done a great job with what he’s been given.”

The Husky fanbase is a tizzy as the former Syracuse University assistant coach, Mike Hopkins earned the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. Hopkins was a coach that many–including myself–had never heard of. We knew nothing of his philosophy nor his capability of handling players. All we saw however was an 11 game improvement this year while Matisse Thybulle set the all time UW steals record and Noah Dickerson come into his own as a star (1st team All Pac-12).

“It goes back to you’re playing for something greater than yourselves,” Hopkins said. “Sometimes you might be the scorer. You might be the rebounder or you might be the defensive guy. You might be a guy on the bench. Everyone plays a significant role, but always for the betterment of the team, so definitely they are individual (awards), but they really are team accomplishments.”

Hopkins joins Romar (2012, 2009, 2005), Bob Bender (1996) and Marv Harshman (1982, 1984) in being awarded the honor but is the first UW coach to take home the award in his first season.

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Abraham DeWeese is an avid local sports fan and a “Man-About-Town” in the Seattle sports scene. He's a lifelong resident of the Seattle area, living in the beautiful Greenlake neighborhood.