Basketball Hall of Famer John Thompson's name is synonymous with success, as is the program he built at Georgetown University. Whether the yardstick used to measure that success is overall wins (596- 239), post season appearances (24 consecutive), graduation rate (97%- 76 of 78 students who stayed four years) or players drafted by the NBA (26, 8 in the first round), Coach Emeritus John Thompson built a winner. He established a program which has been a standard bearer for the BIG EAST Conference with League leading records vs. all conference opponents (233-122), vs. Conference opponents in regular season play, (199-107) in post season play (34-15) and in Conference championships (7 regular season, 6 tournament). His teams have: won a National Championship (1984), appeared in three Final Fours (1982, 1984, 1985) and played in 20 NCAA Tournaments, 14 appearances being consecutive.
He was named "Coach of the Year" a total of seven times. The BIG EAST Conference, in the 1991-92 season named him Coach of the Year for the third time (having previously awarded him this title in 1979-80 and 1986-87). The United States Basketball Writers Association and "The Sporting News" recognized him in 1983-84. The National Association of Basketball Coaches acknowledged him in 1984-85 and United Press International chose him in 1986-87.
The 1988 Olympic Head Coach in Men's Basketball for the USA, his team captured a bronze medal in Seoul. Mr. Thompson was also an assistant coach for the 1976 Olympic team, which won a Gold Medal in Montreal and was a member of the selection committee for the 1984 Olympic team, which won a gold medal in Los Angeles.
A major figure in and out of the coaching profession, John Thompson is a past president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and has served on their board of directors. He is a trustee of the Basketball Hall of Fame. He has been a consultant and spokesman for Nike and is a member of its board of directors. He is one of the founders of 4-H in the nation's capital. He established Georgetown's "Kids and Cops" program, which annually gives away 10,000 tickets to Hoya basketball games. His protest of "proposition 42" focused national attention on issues of economic and educational discrimination.
Mr. Thompson's bachelor degree from Providence College was in economics, but he also holds a master's degree in guidance and counseling from the University of the District of Columbia. He has received honorary degrees from Georgetown University, St. Peter's College, Wheeling College and most recently from the University of the District of Columbia. He holds the titles of Coach Emeritus and Presidential Consultant for Urban Affairs at Georgetown University. He has received the two highest awards which Georgetown University can confer: the President's Award and the Patrick Healy Award.
Prior to his arrival at Georgetown, John Thompson was a highly successful high school coach, amassing a record of 122-28 at St. Anthony's High School in Washington DC. Before that, he played on two Boston Celtic World Championship teams under the tutelage of fellow Hall of Famer, Red Auerbach. While attending Providence College, Thompson led the Friars to the NIT Championship in 1963 and was named "New England Player of the Year" in the following season. The Providence College Student Congress named him "Most Outstanding Senior". Before college, Thompson led his John Carroll High School team to 55 consecutive victories and two city championships.
Highlights of Thompson's 27 Years at Georgetown
March 13, 1972: Hired by Georgetown after compiling 122-28 record at St. Anthony's High School. He inherits a team that had gone 3-23 in the 1971-72 season.
March 15, 1975: In Thompson's third season, Georgetown plays in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1943. This also is the first of 24 consecutive seasons in which the Hoyas appear in postseason play, a streak that remains active.
Fall 1975: Al Dutch of Carroll High School becomes the first high-profile player to enroll at Georgetown under Thompson.
July 1976: Thompson serves as an assistant coach for the 1976 U.S. Olympic team, which wins gold medal in the Montreal Games.
Fall 1976: John Duren of Dunbar High School enrolls at Georgetown. He goes on to become the school's all-time scoring and assist leader as well as the first Thompson-coached player to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft.
Fall 1978: Eric "Sleepy" Floyd enrolls at Georgetown. He later surpasses Duren as the school's all-time scoring leader and becomes the program's first consensus all-American.
March 1979: Georgetown advances to the NCAA for the third time under Thompson, beginning a streak of 14 consecutive seasons in the tournament.
Fall 1979: The Big East Conference begins play, with Georgetown as a charter member.
March 1980: Georgetown wins an NCAA tournament game for the first time under Thompson. The Hoyas advance to the final eight, their best showing in the tournament since 1943.
Fall 1981: Patrick Ewing of Cambridge (Mass.) Rindge & Latin School enrolls at Georgetown, becoming the most heralded in the program's history. The Hoyas begin playing home games regularly at Capital Centre rather than on-campus McDonough Gym.
March 29, 1982: The Hoyas advanced to the Final Four for the first time under Thompson, losing to North Carolina in the national championship game, 63-62. Six players in that game -- Floyd, Ewing, Anthony Jones, Michael Jordan, James Worty and Sam Perkins -- became NBA first-round draft choices.
Dec. 11, 1982: Third-ranked Georgetown and Ewing meet No. 1-ranked Virginia and Ralph Sampson at Capital Centre; the Cavaliers win 68-63.
April 2, 1984: Georgetown beats Houston in the NCAA final, 84-75, to win its only national championship.
April 1, 1985: In one of the biggest upsets in NCAA final history, Georgetown -- with a 35-2 record -- loses to eighth-seeded Villanova, 66-64, as the Wildcats shoot a then-tournament record 78.6 percent from the field (22 for 28, including 9 for 10 in the second half).
June 1985: Ewing, the only Hoya ever named national college player of the year, is the first Georgetown player selected first overall in the NBA draft.
September 1988: Thompson coaches U.S. Olympic team to bronze medal in the Seoul Games, the United States' worst finish in men's basketball and the last time the U.S. team comprises only amateur players.
Fall 1988: Alonzo Mourning of Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Va., enrolls at Georgetown.
Jan 14, 1989: Thompson stages protest of change in freshman eligibility rules that had been approved at the NCAA Convention by walking off the court just before the Hoyas' home game against Boston College, then refuses to coach the team's next game, at Providence. The NCAA membership reversed the change at the 1990 convention.
March 1989: Georgetown advances to the NCAA tournament final eight.
May 1989: Thompson goes on ABC's "Nightline" to discuss his meeting with alleged drug kingpin Rayful Edmond, concerning Edmond's association with Mourning and forward John Turner. Turner is later dismissed from the team for continuing that association.
June 1990: Thompson's discussions with the NBA's Denver Nuggets about becoming the club's coach and general become public. Thompson announces he wil remain at Georgetown.
March 1993: Georgetown fails to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1979, but goes to the National Invitation Tournament and finishes as runner-up.
Fall 1994: Allen Iverson enrolls at Georgetown.
March 1995: The Hoyas advance to the NCAA tournament round of 16.
March 1996: Georgetown advances to the NCAA tournament final eight for the seventh -- and what will turn to be final -- time under Thompson.
May 1, 1996: Iverson announces he is leaving school after his sophomore season to enter the NBA draft, becoming the first Thompson-coached player to leave school early for the pros. In June, he becomes the first overall selection in the draft.
March 1998: Hoyas finish the season 16-15 and tied for last place in the Big East, their worst record since Thompson's first season as a coach.
June 23, 1998: Thompson announces that his son, Ronny, will join his staff as an assistant coach.
Jan. 4, 1999: Georgetown loses to Seton Hall, 72-61, dropping its Big East record to 0-4, the Hoyas' worst start in conference play.
Jan. 8, 1999: Thompson announces his resignation.