Whoa. John Thompson is one of the biggest names in Big East and college hoops history. Whether it was what he did on the court, stories of him off the court, turning Georgetown into a dominant program and being this larger than life type person, he’s one of the all-time greats. Just look at his on the court success:
3x National Coach of the Year
1988 Olympic Coach
1999 Basketball Hall of Fame
3x Final Four
Won the Big East regular season 7x
That's all pretty good. But John Thompson was more than that. He turned Georgetown into the 'cool program'. Just look at stories from guys that played in different eras, at different places speak today. The one that I saw that really stuck out was Kim English - a star at Missouri and now an assistant at Tennessee:
That was what John Thompson did. The Big East was always made up of great schools in the Northeast. Thompson made it possible and spoke about it quite a bit about how he was there to give black guys like him a shot at not only playing hoops in the Big East, but getting that education:
Listen to the way Iverson talked about him:
That's what Thompson is known for as much as having on the court success - whether it was with AI, Ewing, Zo, Dikembe, Sleepy Floyd, fill in the blank of these great players at Georgetown. Not only that, but he was a big time personality. Read this story of when he confronted a drug kingpin in the Georgetown locker room
The time he rocked the sweater to joke around with Lou Carnesecca
Or the time he protested Prop 48 and walked off a game before it started. Prop 48 prohibits freshman athletes from playing that year based on academics. He took it all under his control and was outspoken. It's part of what made him a legend.
RIP John Thompson.