Long-time legendary Georgetown Coach and former Providence Friar player John Thompson Jr. (’64), sadly passed away at the age of 78. Most well known as the leader behind the Hoyas, Thompson led the 1984 Georgetown Men’s Basketball Team to an NCAA Championship, the first ever for a black head coach at the time. In doing so, he paved the way for future coaches of color to be given a chance when they otherwise might not have been, including Ed Cooley.
Thompson’s coaching accolades are as impressive as they are extensive. He led three Hoyas squads to the Final Four, won seven Big East titles, won a bronze medal with the 1988 US National Team, 3 time National Coach of the Year, produced 4 Naismith Players of the Year (Ewing, Mourning, Mutombo, & Iverson), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Thompson’s son John Thompson III (JT3) eventually took the reins from his dad and continued having success in his tenure as Georgetown’s Head Coach. Over 27 seasons, he finished with a record of 596-239, 62nd on the all-time NCAA coaching wins list. However, of the 61 coaches with more wins, only 14 of them have a higher winning percentage than he did.
As a Friar, Thompson was an Honorable Mention All-American for his Senior season 1964, taking part in the first ever NCAA Tournament for Providence. The year prior, he helped PC win the NIT Championship, when that was still considered the premier Championship game for college basketball. When Thompson finished his collegiate career, he was first all-time in points, points per game, and field goal percentage, and second all-time in rebounds in Friar history. He currently ranks 15th all-time in scoring at Providence, and that’s despite playing only 3 seasons since he played during a time when Freshmen were still not allowed to play on the Varsity team.
John Thompson had a massive impact on coaches, players, and even those who were involved in other aspects of basketball. The outpouring of love for the man speaks volumes.
Not only College Basketball, Georgetown, and the Big East, but the world lost a great one with John Thompson Jr. He is the type of mentor, leader, and human being that people should aspire to be like. R.I.P. Big John. Once A Friar, Always A Friar…