Raleigh, NC – Shaw University’s Athletics Department introduced Joel Hopkins as its new head coach of men’s basketball during a press conference this morning. Hopkins began his duties as head coach on June 1, 2015.
“It’s not often in athletics that in order to move forward we take a look back, but this was an opportunity to bring back a coach that established the way we think today about Shaw men’s basketball,” said Marcus Clarke, Shaw University’s director of athletics. “Coach Hopkins is still eager to win and we look forward to his vision for this program.”
Hopkins, a native of Bunn, North Carolina, previously served as Shaw’s men’s basketball head coach from 2000-2002. Hopkins returns to lead a program that he guided to the top of the conference with a two year record of 43-15. In 2002, he led the men’s basketball team to their first ever CIAA Tournament Championship, and a berth in the 2002 NCAA Basketball Regionals. That team would eventually compete in the Division II Elite Eight Tournament and concluded that season with a loss in the semi-finals.
A graduate of North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Hopkins was a member of the school’s 1989 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship team. He would eventually become the head coach at Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, NC (1992-2000), where he would lead the prep basketball program to an astounding 200-39 record.
His ability to identify talent and player development led to the rise of Shaw basketball in 2000. Under his leadership, numerous players led the nation in various statistical categories, including the selection of Shaw’s Ronald Murray as NCAA Division II Player of the Year (2001-02). The team was ranked in the top 20 for the first time in history and garnered Hopkins honors as NCAA Division II Coach of the Year (2001-02), among other coaching accolades.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to return to Shaw and defend my CIAA championship,” said Hopkins. “I’m also excited to come back to help young people achieve their dreams and goals both on and off the court.”
Hopkins has coached several players that were later drafted to the NBA and has mentored countless others. Hopkins is married to Gia Hopkins, and is the father of five children and two grandchildren.