Cooley, a Rhode Island native who spent 12 years as the Friars coach, now departs to Georgetown after winning 221 games and taking the Friars to six NCAA tournaments.
After Cooley’s departure to D.C., Providence athletic director Steve Napolillo made it clear that he was not happy with Georgetown AD Lee Reed poaching his former coach.
“College athletics is really at a crossroads because we talk about educating our student-athletes, and that all goes out the door on a lot of things,” Napolillo told Ian Steele of ABC6 in Rhode Island. “And for me at Providence College, to be in a room with my fellow colleagues where I felt a bond, where I felt a trust, where I felt that the athletic director was a mentor to me and a friend.
“As a first-year AD to put myself in a position that I have a family I have to take care of . . . if I wasn’t ready and saw smoke signs, this could be a lot different conversation. So that’s where for me, is when I talk to people, is I understand the business, but I really thought that at the Big East we had something different. So when we got in that room, we looked at each other as colleagues, we had respect, we had integrity and that we treated it a different way. Now that’s been completely thrown out the door.”
Napolillo moved quickly to hire Cooley’s replacement, as he tabbed George Mason coach Kim English as the next basketball coach for Providence. Now Napolillo, English and the Friars will play Cooley and the Hoyas multiple times per year in the Big East.
There is sure to be no further love lost between these two archrivals.