Washington Huskies coach Mike Hopkins quickly addressed rumors regarding his future by saying he was "exceptionally happy" at the school and believes he can build something special with the program.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman tweeted Wednesday that Hopkins' name was being mentioned for the Pittsburgh opening in the event Rhode Island's Dan Hurley accepted the Connecticut job. UConn announced Thursday it hired Hurley and hours later, Hopkins nixed the idea he was leaving UW after one season.
"Don't believe what you read. Every year they're going to have 'sources.' Three months ago I was involved with three different jobs," Hopkins said. "At the end of the day, me and my family are exceptionally happy here. I work for a great leader in (Huskies athletic director) Jen Cohen and I wanted to go some place where I could build something special ... I think I've done that.
"I love it here and looking forward to building on what we did this year. I think we can make another major step forward. "
Pitt has been without a coach after it fired former longtime Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings after two seasons. Stallings went 16-17 in his first year but was 8-25 with an 0-18 Atlantic Coast Conference record this year.
Hopkins' name came up because he's a former Syracuse assistant who has recruiting ties to the northeast. And, in his one year at UW, he showed and ability to generate instant results.
Hopkins said he does not aggressively follow the coaching carousel throughout the year.
His wife Trish, however, does keep tabs.
"So my wife will say 'Honey. I heard so-and-so. I heard so-and-so's leaving and that's what they're saying,'" Hopkins said. "I'm like, 'Honey. Just don't talk to me. I love you but you gotta hold that one back.'"
This was the first time Hopkins met with reporters after his team's 85-81 loss at Saint Mary's in a second-round NIT game.
Hopkins, who celebrated his one-year anniversary Monday with UW, led the Huskies to a 21-13 record after the team finished 9-22 under former coach Lorenzo Romar.
It was the third-most wins by a first-year coach in school history. It's also how Hopkins was named the Pac-12 John R. Wooden Coach of the Year.
He's set to return all five starters along with key bench players in Nahziah Carter, Dominic Green and Hameir Wright going into the 2018-19 season. The Huskies only graduate two players but currently have five players in their 2018 recruiting class.
Three of those five — small forward Jamal Bey, point guard Elijah Hardy and power forward Nate Roberts — have already signed with the Huskies. Four-star center Bryan Penn-Johnson committed to the Huskies during the team's game against Saint Mary's while three-star forward Ed Chang, who committed last July, has yet to sign.
"There's always player movement but the most important thing I've learned is the program always has to be strong," Hopkins said. "You're always protecting the program. No one's bigger than the program. Guys can leave early. Guys might not get their grades. There's so many different issues with that. That being said, that's the unpredictable part.
"The guys that we've got are perfect fits. They understand what we're trying to do here. ... But I think we have the right guys."