A College Coaching Legend Is Dead

A College Coaching Legend Is Dead

On Aug. 31, 2020, legendary coach and hall of fame star, John Thompson Jr passed away.

" 'We don't need Hoya Paranoia, ' Thompson said Monday night after his Hoyas defeated Houston 84-75 in the title game at the sold-out Kingdome. And no one I respected more".

"When they asked me about a presenter, John immediately came to mind, because he's the guy that helped put in my mind that I could make it there".

Thompson coached at Georgetown for 27 seasons - and has the most wins in the school's history ... racking up 596 wins. He was 78. A cause of death wasn't released by his family. "I was checking on him. I'm sitting there going, 'Is this the same person that I know that they're talking about?'"

On Monday morning, the basketball world mourned the death of a legendary coach and player. "It was a shock".

In 2016, after Iverson had become a first-team All-American and led the 1996 Hoyas to the Elite Eight, after he had led the Philadelphia 76ers to the 2001 NBA Finals and scored 24,368 career points, he invited Thompson to join Larry Brown and Julius Erving in serving as his presenters at his Hall of Fame induction.

Thompson entered the court for Georgetown's January 14, 1989, game against Boston College at the Capital Centre.

Thompson, who also coached the U.S. Olympics men's basketball team to a bronze medal, retired in 1999. "Georgetown had been one of the worst schools on Earth in basketball before John took over". Georgetown's NCAA championship basketball team wasn't built on an adversarial relationship with anybody.

He was later selected in the 3rd-round of the 1964 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics - where he played for 2 seasons. No other teams, no other schools were recruiting me anymore. That's how he trained his players, and I liked that. He had a way about himself where I thought players really related to him. He led the Hoyas to the 1984 national championship, becoming the first Black coach in the NCAA to do so. Richardson became the second Black coach to win an NCAA championship when the Razorbacks beat Duke.

In the aftermath of the championship win in 1984, Thompson reflected on what it meant to him. "It was an important step for my career for what he allowed me to be exposed to". "More than a coach, he was our foundation". They were at the forefront of battling racial issues in their sport, most notably NCAA Proposition 48, which at the time prevented high school recruits from being on scholarship if they didn't meet minimum test scores to be academically eligible.

"Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on, but most importantly, off the basketball court", Thompson's family said. Some found it ironic that he was so successful at a largely white college with mostly Black players.

"We were competitors, and we approached the game the same way - to beat you", Richardson said. "John Thompson never went for easy answers".

"It's an honor to have him here", Heath said at the time. We will remember him as a coach. He later told The Washington Post that, "This is my way of bringing attention to a rule a lot of people were not aware of".

"I've done this because, out of frustration, you're limited in your options of what you can do in response to something I felt was very wrong", Thompson said. "In fact, I love it".

Some of the things Thompson did might seem like hyperbole to those who never got a chance to witness him coaching.

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