NEW YORK – MARCH 10: Former head coach John Thompson II of the Georgetown Hoyas shouts from the stands his former teams takes on the Connecticut Huskies during the quaterfinal round of the Big East Men’s Basketball Championship on March 10, 2005 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Breaking News: Legendary Georgetown Coach John Thompson has passed away. The Hall of Famer became the first African-American head coach to win the NCAA National Championship, leading the Hoyas to the 1984 title. Coach Thompson will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/wrNyzN2vFU
In 27 seasons, Thompson, 78, compiled a coaching record of 596-239 and 97 percent of his players stayed all four years and left with a college degree.
Thompson became the first African-American head coach to win the NCAA National Championship when the Hoyas beat the University of Houston Cougars in the 1984 NCAA National Championship game.
« Big John Thompson is the single most important black man in the history of D.C. sports. » – @clintonyates pic.twitter.com/Y4yCSPA5rW
Big John Thompson was supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 77 on 9/11, if you can believe that.
Fiercely loyal and protective of his players, coach Thompson’s distrust of media types and Georgetown’s popularity created the phenomenon known as #HoyaParanoia ??
Big John Thompson is the single most important black man in the history of D.C. sports.
2020 is crazy R.I.P to one of the greatest coaches to ever live. John Thompson!! He made Georgetown Hoyas what they are till this day. Rest in Heaven Legend!! ?????? pic.twitter.com/akV3GSMVXX
I don’t know if that John Thompson post is true so I deleted but either way. A living LEGEND man.
A Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and three-time Big East Coach of the Year Thompson retired from coaching in 1999 and cited marital issues. During his tenure at Georgetown, he coached several NBA first round picks including Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Martin, Sleepy Floyd and Allen Iverson.
In his Hall of Fame Induction speech in 2016, Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers’ first pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Iverson thanked Thompson for keeping him alive. “I want to thank coach Thompson … for saving my life,” he said.
“For giving me the opportunity. I was recruited by every school in the country for football and basketball. And an incident happened in high school and all that was taken away. No other teams, no other schools were recruiting me anymore. My mom went to Georgetown and begged him to give me a chance. And he did.”
After his coaching career, Thompson became a television and radio analys with stops at Turner and Westwood One.
Thompson had surgery in 2015 to correct a benign twisted intestine which caused him to miss calling the NCAA tournament that year. “While we will miss John’s presence to tip off the NCAA Tournament, we are most thankful that his health is improving and he is feeling better every day,” Westwood One executive producer Howard Deneroff said back then.
“There is a seat waiting for him whenever he is ready to return on the road to the Final Four.”
Before coaching and television, the 6’10 Thompson played college basketball at Providence College and wan All-American in his senior year.
Thompson was the Friars’ all-time leader in points, scoring average, and field goal percentage and second in rebounds.
Thompson was a third round pick by the Boston Celtics in the the 1964 NBA Draft and was Bill Russell’s backup.
In his NBA career, Thompson averaged 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 74 games played. Thompson retired from backsbtall in 1966 to focus on coaching. Before retiring, he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in their expansion draft in 1966; so was the late Jerry Sloan, who’d later become head coach of the Utah Jazz after his playing career.
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