George Washington introduced Jonathan Tsipis as its new women’s basketball coach on Friday afternoon at a reception overlooking the Smith Center court that for years was home to a nationally recognized program.
Tsipis, who called this opportunity “a dream come true,” will try to push the Colonials back to those heights and perhaps beyond in his first head coaching position following a distinguished nine-year run as an assistant at Notre Dame.
“This isn’t a question of being good in a couple of years,” said Tsipis, 39, regarded among his peers as one of the most promising young basketball coaches in the country. “I’m not ready to wait. I’m ready to get this thing going. We’ve been good at Notre Dame, and George Washington is a place where we need to be good.”
The Colonials were among the winningest teams in the area under former coach Joe McKeown, who directed GW’s ascension to the national landscape with 15 trips to the NCAA tournament, four berths in the regional semifinals and one appearance in the region final during nearly two decades.
But following McKeown’s departure for Northwestern after the 2007-08 season, the Colonials have failed to make the NCAA tournament and combined for 25 wins over the last three seasons. That decline in performance led to the dismissal of former coach Mike Bozeman, who was an assistant under McKeown for three seasons.
Tsipis, meantime, was part of Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw’s staff that vaulted the Fighting Irish into the national championship game in each of the past two seasons. Notre Dame lost to undefeated Baylor, 80-61, on Tuesday night in the NCAA final in Denver.
Shortly after that game, Tsipis officially accepted the job at George Washington. He met with his new players for the first time on Friday morning, and he also said he made sure to reach out to the Colonials’ four incoming freshmen. Tsipis said he has not assembled a staff but will begin that process immediately.
Tsipis was an acclaimed director of recruiting at Notre Dame for the past four seasons, but he enters a Washington metropolitan women’s basketball market in which the competition for high-profile recruits is expanding rapidly.
“Just knowing he came from that championship pedigree shows us that he knows how to win,” said Colonials center Sara Mostafa, who will be a fifth-year senior next season. “And it shows us that we’re going to buy into his system because of that. I think before maybe we didn’t know how to win. We weren’t winning, so knowing that he knows how to win is really going to motivate us to listen to everything he says and absorb it.”