Joel Hopkins was named the Shaw University new head men’s basketball coach on June 1, 2015, and returns for his seventh 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 has continued to follow.
This past season (2018-19), Hopkins guided the Bears to a runner-up finish in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship as the Bears concluded the season 17-13 overall, 10-8 in league action and its third-consecutive CIAA Southern Division title. He coached CIAA Player of the Year, Amir Hinton who recently signed as an undrafted free agent to the New York Knicks on June 21. Under Hopkins leadership, Hinton led the NCAA DII in scoring (29.4 ppg) and free throws made (321) while ranking second in the nation for total points (853).
Hinton gained national recognition, including being featured on ESPN, ESPN’s Undefeated and other local media outlets as he earned DII Bulletin Player of the Year, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) First-Team All-American, First Team All-Atlantic Region DII Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA), First Team All-CIAA, All-Tournament Team, 2019 CIAA Player of the Year, BOXTOROW Player of the Year, First Team All-American by the Basketball Times and unanimously voted on the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) First Team All-State ballot during 2018-19.
With a Co-Southern Division title for the second-straight season, Hopkins led the Shaw to a 20-9 overall, 12-4 in league action and 8-2 in the South during the 2017-18 season. The Bears two players named All-Conference, First Team BOXTOROW selectees and NCCSIA All-State Second Team ¬honorees in DeAngelo Stephens-Bell and Savon Goodman. Both Stephens-Bell and Goodman now play professionally oversees.
During Hopkins first two seasons back at the helm, he compiled a record of 29-30 and a Southern Division title for the first time in five years during the second season (2016-17). Joell Hopkins, Jr. – Hopkins son played one season for the Bears in 2015-16 as he was the only player who earned All-CIAA First Team honors during that two-year span.
Hopkins a native of Bunn, N.C., previously served as Shaw 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 Division titles with an 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 Division II Elite Eight Tournament 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 tournament 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 lost in school history, 122-81. Hopkins is one of the most winningest coaches in Shaw program history, compiling an all-time record of 109-63 overall (.634) where he has three seasons with 20 wins or more.
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 (10 yrs.), Hopkins has a 318-102.
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