By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Legendary Men’s Basketball coach John Thompson has passed away. He was 78.
An official cause of death has not been announced yet.
“We are heartbroken to share the news of the passing of our father, John Thompson, Jr,” the Thompson family said in a statement released by Georgetown. “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 everyday. 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.'”
He was the Hoyas head coach from 1972-1999. Thompson was 596–239 as the Hoyas leader.
There were 26 players, who were drafted into the NBA, under his watch. Two of those players were the No. 1 overall picks in Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson.
Iverson credits Thompson with saving his life.
“Thanks For Saving My Life Coach,” Iverson said on Twitter. “I’m going to miss you, but I’m sure that you are looking down on us with a big smile. I would give anything just for one more phone call from you only to hear you say, “Hey MF”, then we would talk about everything except basketball. May you always Rest in Paradise, where there is no pain or suffering. I will always see your face in my mind, hoping that I made you proud. “Your Prodigal Son”. #Hoya4Life”
He coached four Hall of Fame players: Ewing, Iverson, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutombo.
Thompson guided Georgetown to its lone national championship in 1984. When the Hoyas won the Championship that season, he became the first black coach to win a Championship.
He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. In addition, he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.