John Thompson’s accomplishments are too quite a few to be recorded in any type. To call a couple of, the Corridor of Famer gained practically 600 video games and led Georgetown to 24 straight post-season appearances, together with three NCAA Last Fours and the 1984 nationwide championship. He coached the US Olympic basketball group in 1988, successful two Championships as a participant for the Boston Celtics within the NBA and was an All-American participant at Windfall School within the 1960s.
John Thompson additionally knew what the legislation was like and he pursued it for his group, gamers and group. The late trainer was unforgettable.
Thompson had no simple highway to legendary teaching standing – he began out as a highschool coach and took the job in Georgetown when the Hoyas program was nationally irrelevant. Inside a decade, Thompson constructed the Georgetown program into one of the best within the nation. It’s unattainable to debate the Massive East and faculty basketball pretty within the 1980s with out first mentioning John Thompson.
And rattling it, his groups may play. His groups had been feared for being disciplined, sensible, and fierce on the defensive. The Hoyas didn’t induce concern for any bodily purpose (though the Hoyas had been simply as gifted in sport as every other prime group), however as a result of they had been so nicely educated defensively. From Michael Jackson’s ball stress to catching to Patrick Ewing’s rim safety, Georgetown made the aim extremely troublesome. It was an intimidating protection as a result of she was so disciplined and hardworking.
However Thompson’s legacy goes nicely past the X and O and his stellar report as winner and champion. He stood up for what was proper and did it when it wasn’t cool. He resigned in protest at a Massive East sport in 1989 due to NCAA Proposition 42, an preliminary eligibility rule that disproportionately affected African American athletes.
When he gained the NCAA championship in 1984, he was requested if he was the primary African American coach to perform the feat. Thompson was offended by the inference that he is likely to be the primary African American coach able to such an achievement; He was solely one of many first to be given the chance to attain this. When requested what number of of his gamers graduated, he replied, “Anybody who wished”, at all times reminding us that such a distinction shouldn’t be positioned on the shoulders of the coach.
Michael Wilbon shares his private expertise with John Thompson Jr. and the impression Thompson had on his life as a mentor.
Thompson didn’t really feel the necessity to obey the unwritten guidelines of others or the system. His groups did not keep in designated NCAA accommodations as Thompson wished to maintain gamers away from the distractions. For that he was criticized. His gamers had been out there for any vital media duties, however Thompson didn’t enable the media to do something they wished. For that he was criticized. It was known as “Hoya Paranoia” and Thompson used it to his benefit, however it additionally highlighted the variations in the best way the largely white media portrayed Georgetown. The “paranoia” prolonged to the opponents, and the mystique solely added to the substance of the gamers, the coach and the plans.
Thompson’s gamers had been every little thing the NCAA institution wished in an athlete. They wore coats and ties; They had been simply as eloquent and respectful of the media as every other group. they usually had been simply as sensible and disciplined as every other prime group within the nation. However this reality didn’t carry the day. As an alternative, the Hoyas had been lightning rods for criticism as a result of John Thompson did issues his method, exclaiming injustice when he encountered it, and by no means apologizing for doing what he noticed was proper. What was incorrect with that in any method? Nothing.
The sport was higher to have John Thompson in and society was higher to have John Thompson level out his inequalities. Right this moment greater than ever, individuals with open minds and open hearts can see that Thompson was proper about his trigger. He was a extremely nice coach. He was a person of actual braveness and conviction. He was an actual large on and off the bottom. Relaxation in energy, John Thompson. It has been an honor to fulfill you.