Ed Cooley, John Thompson Had Plane Tickets for Hijacked Flights on 9/11 But Changed Plans

The Providence coach and the former Georgetown great were both initially supposed to be on flights that crashed during the terrorist attack.
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In a story by Seth Davis of The Athletic, Providence coach Ed Cooley and former Georgetown coach John Thompson each detailed how they were nearly on flights that were hijacked during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

Cooley said he was supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 11 to Los Angeles to go see recruit Brandon Bowman. He was working as an assistant coach under Al Skinner at Boston College at the time. After recruiting Bowman for some time, Cooley and Skinner were supposed to meet Bowman on Sept. 11, 2001 to discuss setting up an official visit to Boston College.

However, during an unofficial visit to Georgetown, Thompson wooed Bowman. The former Hoyas coach of 27 years was recently retired, but still had an office at Georgetown, which allowed him to run into Bowman and his father during their visit. This led to Bowman deciding to commit to the Hoyas a few days before Cooley and Skinner's scheduled visit.

Cooley was going to make a trip to Chicago on Sept. 11 to visit Andre Iguodala in Illinois after cancelling the meeting with Bowman. However, Cooley never took that flight because of the attacks.

The American Airlines Flight 11 Cooley originally was booked on crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower that morning.


Thompson found himself in a similar situation as a schedule change prevented him from getting on American Airlines Flight 77 to Los Angeles from Washington D.C. The Hall of Famer was planning to be in Las Vegas to celebrate a friend's birthday on Sept. 13, but he wanted to get out there earlier to avoid any potential issues with his travel.

While setting up the travel plans with the friend, who also helped manage Thompson's media requests, Thompson was asked to appear on Jim Rome's television show in Los Angeles on Sept. 11. The plan was for Thompson to take the flight to Los Angeles to do the show and then take another flight to Las Vegas that same day.

A few days before the interview, Thompson was asked if they could push his appearance back another day. Despite his initial reservations, Thompson agreed to move the flight back and avoided ending up on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Cooley is getting set to enter his eighth season at Providence. He spent five seasons as Fairfield's coach following his time with Skinner at Boston College. Last season the Friars went 21-14 and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament after losing to eventual-national champion Villanova in the Big East tournament championship.