Joel Hopkins was named the Shaw University new head men's basketball coach on June 1, 2015, and returns for his fifth season with the Bears.
The word "championship" has been a consistent part of the essence of Coach Joel Hopkins since his initial tenure as a head basketball coach. He created a nationally prominent program from the ground up on the high school level, and in two years at his first collegiate head coaching post, the national spotlight followed.
Hopkins is coming off a 14-13 overall record during the 2016-17 season. The Bears took home the Southern Division title for the first time in five years and had two players named to the 2017 All-Conference Team. Shaw concluded its season with a 56-49 loss to Fayetteville State in the CIAA Tournament.
During the 2015-16 season, Hopkins and the Bears were responsible for a 12-17 overall record, and 9-7 in the league. The Bears finished third in the Southern Division and had one player named to All-CIAA team.
Hopkins a native of Bunn, N.C., previously served as Shaw's men's basketball coach from 2000-2002. He returns to lead a program that he once guided to the top of the conference with a two year record of 43-15 overall.
In 2002, he led the men's basketball team to their first ever CIAA Tournament Championship, before winning Eastern Divison titles with a overall record of 23-9. He also led the Bears to a berth in the 2002 NCAA Basketball Regionals.
That team would eventually compete in the Divison II Elite Eight Tournamnet and conclude with a loss in the semi-finals.
Hopkins guided Shaw to the National Division II Final Four in his second year and at the age of 32, becoming the youngest coach in CIAA history to win the tournamnet and make it to the NCAA Final Four. He presently has a 3-1 mark in national postseason action.
On the national scene, Hopkins built one of the most dominating teams in Division II basketball and the CIAA in 2001-02. A season that saw the Bears rank nationally for the first time in school history during the entire season. The Bears enjoyed wins over national powers Tampa, Carson Newman, West Georgia and handed CIAA and national power Virginia Union the worst losy in school history, 122-81.
Prior to Shaw, Hopkins was the head coach for boys basketball at Mount Zion Academy Prep (Durham, NC), where he compiled a 200-39 record. The success that season awarded him the Basketball Times National Coach of the Year honor. Combining his high school and collegiate record (7 yrs), Hopkins has a 243-54.
A graduate of North Carolina Central University, Hopkins is a member of the school's 1989 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship team.
A definite indication of a proven winner. HIS TOUCH BRINGS CHAMPIONSHIPS.