John Thompson Wiki, Bio
Georgetown Hall of Fame basketball coach John Thompson, the first African-American to lead a team to a national title, has died at age 78.
No official cause of death has been provided. Washington DC radio station 95.9 The Team was the first to report the news. Georgetown University did not immediately respond to the Daily Mail’s request for confirmation.
Often intimidating and always fiercely protective of his players, Thompson made Georgetown a national powerhouse beginning in the late 1970s. But it wasn’t until 1981 that Thompson landed the nation’s top pick, 7-year-old center Patrick Ewing. feet, which the Hoyas, mostly black, began to instill fear in their opponents and even some segments of white America
John Thompson, the first African American to guide a team to a national
Hall of Fame Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson, the first African American to guide a team to a national title, has reportedly passed away at 78
Thompson retired in 1999 with a record of 596-239, having coached NBA stars like Patrick Ewing (left), Allen Iverson (right), Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning
It was with Thompson that the elite private Catholic university in Washington’s most affluent neighborhood became synonymous with the kind of physical and defensive basketball played in downtown communities along the East Coast.
Thompson’s Hoyas became a countercultural touchstone. The emerging hip-hop community embraced Georgetown apparel, and school-age kids across the country rushed to shop for Nike’s blue and gray ‘Hoyas’ hi-top sneakers.
Thompson, a glowering 6-foot-10 former Boston Celtics center
Leading the way was Thompson, a tight-fitting 6-foot-10 former Boston Celtics center who never hesitated to face racism.
While training against his alma mater, Providence College, in 1983, Thompson noticed a sign in the Friars’ student section that proclaimed “Ewing cannot read.”
Thompson pulled the Hoyas off the ground until the sign was removed.
He did it again a few weeks later, when a Villanova fan in Philadelphia lifted a sheet that read “Ewing is a monkey.” One Wildcats fan had even thrown a banana peel on the court as Ewing warned.
“Sooner or later, these kinds of things will cause a riot,” Thompson said, as quoted by the Washington Post at the time. ‘Sooner or later, I’m going to tell my players to go up and get the signal and then see what happens.
Thompson, as quoted by the Washington Post at the time
Sooner or later, these kinds of things will cause riots, ”Thompson said, quoted by the Washington Post at the time. ‘Sooner or later, I’m going to tell my players to go up and get the signal and then see what happens.
“First of all, you can’t be responsible for every idiot who jumps into the stands and wants to do it,” he added. “But I have no tolerance for administrators who do nothing about it.”
Thompson was uncomfortable with the accolades he received for being the first black coach to win an NCAA title, not because it was not an achievement, but because other African Americans were denied that opportunity.
‘I’m not interested in being the first or the only black to do something because it implies that in 1984, a black man finally got smart enough to win an NCAA title, and that’s a very misleading thing to do,’ he said after Hoyas will beat the University of Houston in the 1984 championship game.
Thompson will also be remembered as a mentor. During his 27th season, 97 percent of Thompson’s players stayed four years and graduated.
Allen Iverson wasn’t among them, but the Philadelphia 76ers legend turned Hoyas guard gave Thompson much more than his education.
“I want to thank Coach Thompson,” Iverson said during his Hall of Fame induction speech, “for saving my life.”
Like Ewing, Iverson was one of the top recruits, but schools lost interest after he was arrested for allegedly throwing a chair and hitting a woman during a bowling alley fight when he was 17 years old.
“I was recruited by every school in the country for soccer and basketball,” Iverson continued. ‘And there was an incident in the high school and all of that was taken away. No other team, no other school was recruiting me anymore. My mom went to Georgetown and begged him to give me a chance. And he did. ‘
Thompson retired in 1999 with a 596-239 record, having coached NBA stars like Ewing, Iverson, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning. His son, John Thompson III, began training on the program in 2004, but was replaced in 2017 by Ewing, who remains Hoyas’s coach.
Thompson, born in Washington DC, was an All-American in Providence before moving on to the Celtics, where he befriended Hall of Fame center Bill Russell. Thompson would win two NBA titles with the Celtics before going on to coach at St. Anthony High School in Washington from 1966 to 1972.
In addition to his NCAA title, Thompson also won an Olympic bronze medal coaching the United States at the 1988 Seoul Games.