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John Thompson (basketball)

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Title: John Thompson (basketball)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: List of NCAA Men's Final Four broadcasters, 2001 NBA Playoffs, Lou Carnesecca, Providence Friars men's basketball, 2002 NBA Playoffs
Collection: 1941 Births, African-American Basketball Coaches, African-American Catholics, American Olympic Coaches, American Roman Catholics, American Sports Radio Personalities, American Television Sports Announcers, Basketball Players from Washington, D.C., Boston Celtics Draft Picks, Boston Celtics Players, Chicago Bulls Expansion Draft Picks, College Basketball Announcers in the United States, College Men's Basketball Head Coaches in the United States, Georgetown Hoyas Men's Basketball Coaches, Living People, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees, National Basketball Association Broadcasters, National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees, Nike, Inc. People, Parade High School All-Americans (Boys' Basketball), Providence Friars Men's Basketball Players
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

John Thompson (basketball)

John Thompson
John Thompson (left) and Patrick Ewing meet with President Ronald Reagan
Personal information
Born (1941-09-02) September 2, 1941
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight 270 lb (122 kg)
Career information
High school Archbishop Carroll
(Washington, D.C.)
College Providence (1961–1964)
NBA draft 1964 / Round: 3 / Pick: 25th overall
Selected by the Boston Celtics
Pro career 1964–1966
Position Center
Number 5
Coaching career 1966–1999
Career history
As player:
1964–1966 Boston Celtics
As coach:
1966–1972 St. Anthony HS
1972–1999 Georgetown
Career highlights and awards

As player:

As coach:

Basketball Hall of Fame as coach
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

John Robert Thompson, Jr. (born September 2, 1941) is an American former Patrick Ewing, defeated the University of Houston 84–75.


  • Early life 1
  • Playing career 2
  • Coaching career 3
    • Georgetown 3.1
      • Controversy 3.1.1
      • Confronting drug lord 3.1.2
    • 1988 Olympic Team 3.2
    • Resignation 3.3
  • Commentator 4
  • Head coaching record 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8

Early life

Thompson was born and raised in Tom Hoover won over Cardozo 79–52. The next year, Thompson and Leftwich led the Lions over the Ollie Johnson/Dave Bing led Spingarn, 69–54. During his senior year, Thompson led Carroll to a 24–0 record, preserving their 48-game winning streak along the way. Carroll capped off the undefeated 1960 season with a 57–55 win over St Catherine's Angels of Racine, WI in the Knights of Columbus National Championship Tournament with Thompson pacing the Lions with 15 points. Thompson finished the season as the top scorer in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, averaging 21 points per game.

Playing career

After graduating from Archbishop Carroll, Thompson went to Providence College, where he played on the 1963 NIT Championship team with Ray Flynn, and was part of the first Providence NCAA tournament team in 1964. He was an All-American in his senior year of 1964. Upon graduation, Thompson was the Friars' all-time leader in points, scoring average, and field goal percentage, and second in rebounds. Currently, Thompson is 11th on the all-time scoring list at PC, fourth in scoring average, sixth in field goal percentage, and third in rebounds.

He was drafted in the third round in 1964 and played two years in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Boston Celtics in 1964–1966.[2] At 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) and 270 lb (120 kg), he backed up Bill Russell, the Celtics star center, en route to two championships. Nicknamed "The Caddy" for his secondary role to Russell, he averaged 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 74 games played. He retired in 1966 to begin a much more successful career in coaching.[3]

Before retiring as a player in 1966, Thompson was selected by the Chicago Bulls in that year's expansion draft.

Coaching career


Thompson was the head coach at St. Anthony High School in Washington, D.C. from 1966 to 1972, racking up 122–28 record.

Next, Thompson was hired to become the head coach of the Georgetown University, where he spent the remainder of his Hall of Fame career.

Thompson, an imposing figure on the sidelines who towered over many opposing coaches (and players, for that matter), was often noted for the trademark white towel that he carried on his shoulder during the games. Inheriting a Georgetown team which had been 3–23 the year before, Thompson quickly and dramatically improved the team, making the NCAA tournament within three seasons. Over the following 27 years, Thompson's Hoyas went 596–239 (.714), running off a streak of 24 postseason appearances – 20 in the NCAA tournament and 4 in the NIT – including a 14-year streak of NCAA appearances from 1979–1992 that saw three Final Four appearances in 1982, 1984 and 1985, winning a National Championship in 1984 and narrowly missing a repeat the next year by losing to underdog Villanova.

He won seven Coach of the Year awards: Big East (1980, 1987, 1992), United States Basketball Writers Association and The Sporting News (1984), National Association of Basketball Coaches (1985) and United Press International (1987). Thompson coached many notable players, including Patrick Ewing, Sleepy Floyd, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Allen Iverson. Under Thompson, 26 players were chosen in the NBA Draft, 8 in the first round including 2 players selected first overall, Ewing by the New York Knicks in 1985 and Iverson by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996.


John Thompson's career as head coach of Georgetown was not without controversy. Perhaps one of the most controversial incidents was the hanging of a sign in the McDonough Gymnasium. In 1975, after another perceived mediocre year, a sign was hung at the top of the rafters reading "Thompson the nigger flop must go."[4] The university quickly took down the sign and silenced talks for his termination.

Confronting drug lord

In the late 1980s, Thompson got word that several of his players, including Alonzo Mourning, were associating with noted DC drug lord (and avid Hoya fan) Rayful Edmond III,[5] whose crew was connected to at least forty homicides.[6] At the height of his empire, Edmond became very friendly with several Hoyas players. When Thompson confirmed what was happening, he sent word through his sources to have Edmond meet him at his office at McDonough Gymnasium.

When Edmond arrived, Thompson was initially cordial, and informed Edmond that he needed to cease all contacts with his players post haste,[7] specifically John Turner and Mourning, both of whom had befriended Edmond.[8] When Edmond tried to assure him that his players were not involved in anything illegal, the 6'10" Thompson stood up and pointed his index finger between Edmond's eyes. Thompson, known for his legendary volatility, quickly boiled over, and unleashed a profanity-laced tirade in which he told Edmond that he didn't care about his crew's violent reputation or propensity to commit murder. Edmond had crossed a line with Thompson's players, and Thompson was not going to allow Edmond to destroy the players' lives.[9]

By all accounts, Edmond never associated with another Hoyas player on a personal level. It was believed that Thompson was the only person to stand up to Edmond without consequence,[10] initially causing some shock and surprise that there was no reprisal.[11]

1988 Olympic Team

Thompson, who had served as an assistant coach for the gold medal winning team in the 1976 Summer Olympics, coached the US team at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Although favored to win the international tournament, the United States was narrowly defeated by the Soviet Union in the semifinals 82–76, marking the first time the United States did not reach the gold medal game. The team proceeded to win its final game against Australia to secure the bronze medal.


On January 8, 1999, Thompson announced his resignation as Georgetown's head coach, citing marriage problems. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on October 1, 1999. Thompson was replaced by longtime assistant Craig Esherick, a popular player's coach.

Esherick was fired in 2004 and replaced by Leo J. O'Donovan, university president, referred to as a "coach emeritus" position, assisting on academic, athletic and community projects.

His younger son, Ball State.


After retiring from coaching, Thompson continued to be active in basketball as a commentator for both professional (mainly for Washington Redskins tight end Rick Walker and producer Chuck Sapienza. Thompson left ESPN 980 in March 2012 to pursue other broadcasting opportunities.

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Georgetown Hoyas (Independent) (1972–1979)
1972–73 Georgetown 12–14
1973–74 Georgetown 13–13
1974–75 Georgetown 18–10
[note 1]
1975–76 Georgetown 21–7
[note 1]
NCAA First Round
1976–77 Georgetown 19–9
[note 1]
NIT First Round
1977–78 Georgetown 23–8
[note 1]
NIT Semifinals
1978–79 Georgetown 24–5
[note 1]
NCAA First Round
Georgetown: 130–66
Georgetown Hoyas (Big East) (1979–1999)
1979–80 Georgetown 26–6 5–1 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
1980–81 Georgetown 20–12 9–5 2nd NCAA First Round
1981–82 Georgetown 30–7 10–4 2nd NCAA Runner–up
1982–83 Georgetown 22–10 11–5 2nd NCAA Second Round
1983–84 Georgetown 34–3 14–2 1st NCAA Champions
1984–85 Georgetown 35–3 14–2 2nd NCAA Runner–up
1985–86 Georgetown 24–8 11–5 3rd NCAA First Round
1986–87 Georgetown 29–5 12–4 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
1987–88 Georgetown 20–10 9–7 2nd NCAA Second Round
1988–89 Georgetown 29–5 13–3 T–1st NCAA Elite Eight
1989–90 Georgetown 24–7 11–5 2nd NCAA Second Round
1990–91 Georgetown 19–13 8–8 4th NCAA Second Round
1991–92 Georgetown 22–10 10–6 T–1st NCAA Second Round
1992–93 Georgetown 20–13 8–10 5th NIT Runner–up
1993–94 Georgetown 19–12 10–8 T–4th NCAA Second Round
1994–95 Georgetown 21–10 11–7 4th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1995–96 Georgetown 29–8 13–5 1st
NCAA Elite Eight
1996–97 Georgetown 20–10 11–7 1st
NCAA First Round
1997–98 Georgetown 16–15 6–12 T–5th
NIT Second Round
1998–99 Georgetown 7–6[note 2] 0–4[note 2]
[note 2]
[note 2]
Total: 596–239 (.714)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Although an independent, Georgetown participated from 1975 to 1979 in one of the regional end-of-season NCAA Tournament in the same manner as conference tournaments of conventional conferences. Georgetown played in the ECAC South Region Tournament from 1975 to 1977, winning it in 1975 and 1976, and in the ECAC South-Upstate Region Tournament in 1978 and 1979, winning it in 1979.
  2. ^ a b c d Thompson resigned at midseason on January 8, 1999. Craig Esherick immediately succeeded him as head coach. Esherick led the team to a regular-season conference record of 6-12 and a 7th-place conference finish, a first-round loss in the 1999 National Invitation Tournament, and an overall record for 1998-99 of 15-16.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "John Thompson". Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "What the Hell Happened to...John Thompson?". Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "A Firm Hand at the Helm". 
  5. ^ ESPN – ESPN The Magazine
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Wilbon, Michael. "A Coach, Not a Crusader". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  9. ^ Wise, Mike (February 10, 2007). "Big John Is Still Big John". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Movies – American Gangster: Season Two – Disc 3 Review
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