WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) — Ed Cooley was introduced to the Georgetown University community as the new men’s basketball coach on Wednesday.

It was announced earlier this week that Cooley was going to take a job leading the rival Hoyas, marking an unprecedented move in Big East conference history.

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“As we began this process, Coach Cooley quickly emerged as our leading candidate,” Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed said. “I am certain he will quickly ingrain himself into the Georgetown community, showing his passion, drive and determination to build a championship-level program.”

Cooley is replacing the since-departed Patrick Ewing, who was fired after six seasons coaching the Hoyas.

Reed said he respects the school’s history but is confident Cooley is a major step toward their future.

When Cooley was called up to the podium, he asked any former Georgetown players in attendance to join him at the front of the room, nothing they “earned the right to stand here.”

“For me, this is about people, this is about purpose, this is about friendships,” Cooley said. “We’re going to win games. I promise you we’re going to win games. We’re not going to win a little, we’re going to win a lot.”

Cooley noted to the players at Providence College it was going to “take a very, very special place” for him to leave home.

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“Yet, purpose. Change. Time. Purpose. There’s a purpose for us to be here. It was the right time, and it was hard,” he said. “Twelve years at a school where you grew up. Twelve years at a place you took from the bottom. Twelve years to build a championship team.”

Cooley, a Rhode Island native, began coaching at Providence in 2011 and compiled a 242-153 record, leading the Friars to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, a trip to the Sweet 16, a 2022 Big East regular season title, and a 2014 Big East Tournament title.

He said he has met briefly with the current Georgetown players and said he wants players who want to be there and he’s not going to beg anyone to stay.

“It’s a new era, and it’s the blossom season, we are about to blossom as big as anything in America. I can promise you that,” Cooley continued. “We’re not going to be good, we are going to be special.”

“When it came down to calling Lee and saying ‘I’m your guy,’ it was a lot of soul-searching on that because I had to say goodbye to a home, to a region, that region built me,” Cooley continued.

He took to social media on Tuesday to thank Providence and its fans.

“FRIARTOWN! What a ride this has been. We created something so special for this school and this city when no one believed we could,” Cooley wrote on Twitter.

Replies to his social media posts were not all positive, but some did thank him for his time with the Friars and wished him luck.

Providence continues searching for Cooley’s replacement.