After the Oregonian reported Sunday that Syracuse basketball assistant coach Mike Hopkins was one of two finalists for the vacant head coaching position at Oregon State, the Beavers announced on Tuesday they would hire Wayne Tinkle to take on the role, keeping the Orange’s coach-in-waiting on their bench.
Hopkins has been mentioned amongst a couple of schools as a potential hire for their head coaching job and Oregon State is the latest to strongly consider the 44 year old for their top spot. With Hopkins as the planned successor of current Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim and a fan favorite, the Syracuse faithful can take another deep breath and sigh of relief as they will be maintaining one of the young and talented minds they have on their staff on the bench for the time being.
Wayne Tinkle has been with the University of Montana as a coach since 2001. He played four years there in the 80s’ and took over as their head coach in 2006, leading the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament in three of the past five seasons while posting a 158-89 overall record. This will be his first major program endeavor and the program is set to make an announcement to make the move official on Wednesday.
This, in my opinion, was a very good move for Tinkle and it worked out quite well for Hopkins. The Beavers finished this past season with a record of 16-16 to go along with an 8-10 conference record, good enough for 10th place in the 12-team league. Their incoming recruiting class doesn’t even crack ESPN’s top 40, which isn’t a good sign of improvement for a program that hasn’t made the tournament since 1990. That being said, Tinkle has some work cut out for him. At his current age, Hopkins will still be very young when he takes over for Boeheim when (or if) he decides to retire and will continue to be a main part of the recruiting focus for the Orange. If he went to Oregon State, he would not only have a lot of rebuilding to do but he would also have to relocate his family and risk having a bad experience out west with a program that has been struggling for the latter of 20 years now. If you haven’t yet, take a look at the article Gary Parish of CBSSports.com posted on how it was a good thing Hopkins is not leaving Syracuse for Corvallis.