Boeheim Reflects On John Thompson's Passing And The Upcoming Season

Steven Shoemaker

This morning coach Jim Boeheim joined Mike Greenberg and then Dan Patrick to discuss the upcoming season, as well as the passing of Hoyas longtime head coach John Thompson. Boeheim held a 21-25 record against Thompson, in what he felt was, “one of his biggest rivalries in his coaching career.” Boeheim always wanted to beat Thompson’s Hoyas, but valued their friendship even more.

In Coach Thompson’s 27 seasons (1972-1999) with Georgetown he held a record of 596-239 (.714 win %). Thompson became the first black head coach to win an NCAA National Championship. The Hoyas defeated the Houston Cougars 84-75 in the 1984 National Championship game.

The team was led by Patrick Ewing, who is now the Hoyas current head coach. Ewing is just one of the many great players who was coached by Thompson. Other stars include Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and Allen Iverson.

John Thompson is one of the great coaches you have to name when it comes to college basketball. He had such an immense impact on his players both on and off the court.

“He brought change to college basketball. He empowered a lot of African American coaches and kids,” Boeheim told Greenberg.

In 1989, Thompson advocated for players’ rights where he staged a walkout during a game against Boston College to protest Proposition 48. Thompson believed Prop 48 and standardized testing was racially biased. Thompson supported equal rights, a topic that is just so important in our world today.

“You just can’t overestimate the impact he had on all of us, especially African American kids in the city. That’s who they looked up to, John Thompson,” Boeheim said.

Later in the morning Boeheim joined Dan Patrick to discuss the impact Thompson had on so many coaches.

“I don’t know the numbers, how many black head coaches there were in 1970, but I know that it wasn’t anywhere near the numbers today. That’s because of John Thompson,” Boeheim said about his late friend.

Big John Thompson helped pave the way for more and more black coaches to take on prominent coaching positions in both college and the pros.

Thompson will be dearly missed, but will be forever remembered for all he accomplished.

“He was one of a kind. There’s nobody like John Thompson, there really isn’t and I don’t think there ever will be,” Boeheim said.

Patrick later went on to ask Boeheim how he feels about the upcoming basketball season in the midst of COVID-19. Boeheim strongly believes the Orange are going to play this year.

“Athlete’s I think are safer on campus, the testing shows that. They are better off on campus. We could play during November/December with no students on campus,” Boeheim said.

This season will deliver its fair share of ups and downs due to the virus. As we are well aware, nothing is guaranteed. Whenever the season does officially get underway, the Orange will be well prepared under Boeheim as he heads into his 44 year as head coach.