Hopkins back to lead Shaw’s basketball program

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Joel Hopkins, who led Shaw to a 43-15 record from 2000-2002, is back as the head coach of the men’s basketball team it was announced Tuesday.

Hopkins led the Bears to a CIAA Tournament title and an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2002.

He left Shaw before the start of the 2002-2003 because he and the university could not agree on terms of a contract extension. At the time he said money wasn’t the issue but there were other terms where there were differences.

He has been away from the game of basketball ever since, going into private business instead. Thirteen years was long enough to convince him that he missed the action.

“You have time to think about all your mistakes,” Hopkins said, “things you could have done different, things you shouldn’t have said or things you could have made a bigger impact on, so, I had a lot of chances to look at myself.”

A graduate of North Carolina Central University (NCCU), Hopkins was a member of Central’s 1989 NCAA Division II National Championship team.

“I think kids need to understand, there’s nothing wrong with going to a HBCU to play sports,” Hopkins said. “You can be just as successful here as anywhere else and I’ve proven that at a Mt. Zion and a Shaw University and we’re going to prove it again.”

He succeeds Cleo Hill Jr., whose contract was not renewed. Hill guided the Bears to a 13-16 record last season. He had a 116-67 career record in seven seasons as the head coach.

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