Legendary Basketball Coach John Thompson Jr. Passes Away
John Thompson Jr. was just a basketball coach. During his career as the head coach for the Georgetown Hoyas, he made history.
At the age of 31, after playing two years in the NBA, Thompson became the head coach for the Hoyas. Twelve years later, he became the first African American college basketball coach to win a National Championship in 1984.
On top of that accomplishment, Thompson also took “the Hoyas to three Final Fours in the 1980s while also winning seven Big East titles and leading the 1988 United States national team to a bronze medal in the Olympics,” ESPN reported.
Sadly, in a statement issued by his family on August 31, it was revealed that three days before what would have been his 79th birthday, Thompson passed away. “We are heartbroken to share the news of the passing of our father, John Thompson, Jr,” the family began. “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. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else.”
“However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear every day. We will miss him but are grounded in the assurance that we carry his faith and determination in us. We will cherish forever his strength, courage, wisdom, and boldness, as well as his unfailing love. We know that he will be deeply missed by many and our family appreciates your condolences and prayers. But don’t worry about him, because as he always liked to say, ‘Big Ace is cool.'”
According to ESPN, Thompson had the opportunity to continue his career as a professional athlete with the Chicago Bulls after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. However, the legendary coach later decided to leave the sport as an athlete to coach at St. Anthony Catholic School in Washington, D.C., his hometown.
And as made evident by Allen Iverson in his Hall of Fame speech, Thompson made a huge difference in the lives of his past players.
After going 122-28 during his six years there, Thompson went on to Georgetown where he would ultimately retire.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.