Sept. 20, 2012
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University Head Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III knew that he would have a long day in South Carolina on Monday. But he also knew that the end result would make it worthwhile.
Thompson traveled on Monday morning to Greenville, S.C., where he was the featured speaker for the Coaches4Character program, a non-profit group that helps to "teach at-risk youth the value of education and character development."
It is a cause that is close to Thompson, whose own foundation - the JTIII Foundation - reaches out to non-profit organizations that serve at-risk families and children in the Washington, D.C. area.
"Forget what I ramble about, these kids should be each other's motivation," Thompson told the Greenville News. "You don't need Coach Thompson. Through this program, they can look at each other and just by bringing this group together, hopefully, somebody is touched in some way, shape or form."
Thompson arrived in South Carolina on Monday and attended a thank you reception from sponsors early in the evening. Following that, he addressed a group of nearly 1,200 students from the Upstate area in South Carolina at the Coaches4Character Program, held at the Redemption World Outreach Center. The evening closed with a dinner.
Over the course of the last five years, Coaches4Character has evolved into a unique character and education program for at-risks youths from fourth grade to seniors in high school. Previous speakers have includes coaches such as Tom Izzo, Steve Spurrier, Vivian Stringer and Roy Williams. The Coaches4Character Series emphasizes the importance of education and character to students, providing hope and a chance to succeed in life.
This was the 20th program for Coaches4Character and it has had more 20,000 students attend. Thompson helped to present the Greenville News Coaches4Character Awards, given to middle and high school students with exemplary character.
"You never know who is watching you," Thompson told the audience. "You never know who is making decisions about you when you don't even know decisions are being made."