Q+A John Thompson III

May 02, 2004

Georgetown's new basketball coach talks about taking over the
now-struggling program his father made famous.

SI: Have you contacted Patrick Ewing to see if he has any
eligibility left?

Thompson III: Our compliance person is doing extensive research
into it right now. I'm hoping to hear back soon.

SI: Your father hosts a radio sports-talk show in Washington,
D.C. Do you expect him to get on you if you don't have a good
start?

Thompson III: Oh, I know he will.

SI: You had a successful four-year run as coach at Princeton. Why
leave for Georgetown?

Thompson III: Obviously Georgetown is part of who I am, and it's
a chance to step up to a different stage. The opportunity to come
to a powerful institution with a combination of academics and
basketball tradition was very appealing.

SI: Former Princeton coach Pete Carril is one of your mentors. Do
you have a favorite Carril expression?

Thompson III: Pete Carril's expressions are not suitable for
print in your magazine. (Laughs.)

SI: Your brother, Ronny, said the biggest difference between you
and your dad is that you're more mild-mannered. Agree or
disagree?

Thompson III: I'm not sure. I don't sit back and compare and
contrast myself to Pops or Coach Carril. But you'll probably see
a little bit of them in some of the things I do.

SI: What's your favorite memory of your dad's Georgetown teams?

Thompson III: Seeing him hugging Freddie Brown after the national
championship [in 1984].

SI: You have a two-year-old son, John Wallace Thompson. Has he
shown any interest in coaching?

Thompson III: Not yet. But he shoots all the time. The kid never
passes the ball.

SI: I read that your dad never wanted you to be a coach. What do
you think he secretly wanted you do to?

Thompson III: (Laughs.) It's not so much that he wanted me to do
something in particular. He used to say, "I spent all this money
on your Princeton education, and you want to be a coach? You've
wasted my money. You're a fool." --Richard Deitsch

For more from John Thompson III, go to si.com/siexclusive.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (THOMPSON III) Pops, don't preach

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