Longtime Georgetown basketball head coach John Thompson Jr., who impacted the lives many over his 27 years at the helm, passed away on Monday. He was 78.
Following the news of Thompson Jr.'s death, his family released the following statement:
“We are heartbroken to share the news of the passing of our father, John Thompson, Jr. 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.”
Thompson, who finished his storied career with 596 wins with the Hoyas, was the first Black head coach to win the NCAA Championship when Georgetown cut down the nets in 1984. Over his 27-year stint in charge at Georgetown, the Hoyas appeared in three Final Fours in 1982, 1984 and 1985 and reached the NCAA Tournament 20 times.
Thompson stepped down as head coach in 1999, the same year he was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.