Home World John Thompson Jr., Legendary Georgetown Basketball Coach, Has Died

John Thompson Jr., Legendary Georgetown Basketball Coach, Has Died

Merrit Kennedy

Former Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball coach John Thompson Jr., shown here at a game in 2019, has died. He was 78. Mitchell Layton/Getty Images hide caption

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Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Former Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball coach John Thompson Jr., shown here at a game in 2019, has died. He was 78.

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

College basketball has lost a legend. John Thompson Jr., who turned Georgetown University’s men’s basketball team into a juggernaut and became the first Black coach to win a national men’s college basketball title, has died.

Thompson’s family confirmed his death in a statement released by Georgetown University.

“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,” Thompson’s family said. “He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else.”

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The Hall of Famer led Georgetown’s team to 24 consecutive postseason appearances, while also maintaining a player graduation rate of 97%.

When Thompson started coaching at Georgetown in 1972, the team had won only three games the previous season. His leadership culminated with a national championship win in 1984.

“Thanks For Saving My Life Coach,” Allen Iverson, who played for Thompson and went on to become an NBA star, said in a remembrance on Twitter. “I will always see your face in my mind, hoping that I made you proud.”

In their statement, the Thompson family went on to say, “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.”

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