SPRINGFIELD, MASS. – The Basketball Hall of Fame Family celebrates the life and mourns the passing of legendary Georgetown University coach John R. Thompson. John Thompson, enshrined as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, has passed away at the age of 78.
“Coach Thompson took the helm at Georgetown in 1972, vowing to turn around the program and bring a national championship to the nation’s capital,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “He made good on that promise in 1984 and had an immeasurable impact on the players he coached in his 27 year legacy. To have had a hand in the development of four Hall of Fame players in Ewing, Iverson, Mutombo and Mourning is an astonishing feat. Coach Thompson will be tremendously missed by the basketball community.”
From 1972-1999, Thompson won nearly 600 games with his team reaching the Final Four three times (1982, 1984, 1985). The combination of Thompson’s strong will and his even stronger commitment to his players' lives off the basketball court helped him achieve his goal of winning an NCAA Championship in 1984. Thompson's teams made 24 consecutive postseason appearances (19 NCAA, 5 NIT) and won seven Big East tournament championships. Even more impressive was the fact that 75 of his 77 players who remained all four years received degrees and 26 of his players were drafted in the NBA, including Patrick Ewing who was the NBA’s first lottery pick in 1985. Thompson, 6’10” and affectionately known as “Big John,” won two NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics as a player and credited Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach with teaching him the importance of player management.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.