Legendary Georgetown head coach John Thompson has passed away, according to media reports out of Washington D.C. ABC-7 WJLA in D.C. is reporting friends and family confirm Thompson, passed away this morning. He was 78.
Thompson spent his entire college coaching career at Georgetown where he won 596 games and the 1984 national championship. The Basketball Hall of Famer spent two seasons in the NBA, winning titles both years as Bill Russell’s backup.
Thompson’s cause of death has yet to be announced.
Breaking News: Legendary Georgetown Coach John Thompson has passed away. The Hall of Famer became the first African-American head coach to win the NCAA National Championship, leading the Hoyas to the 1984 title. Coach Thompson will be greatly missed. pic.twitter.com/wrNyzN2vFU
— The Team 980 & 95.9FM (@team980) August 31, 2020
BREAKING: Former Georgetown coach John Thompson has died, according to friends and family.
There is no word on a cause yet. Thompson was 78 years old.
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) August 31, 2020
Statement from the Thompson family: pic.twitter.com/xTgiBkKco5
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) August 31, 2020
When you think of John Thompson, you have to think of the mid-1980s during the Patrick Ewing era of dominance and trips into Madison Square Garden, especially February 27, 1985 for the Sweater Game when Thompson wore a sweater for his buddy Lou Carnesecca. St. John’s was on a 13-game winning streak and attributed Lou’s sweater as a good luck charm.
Mike Wilbon once wrote that Lou’s sweater was “turquoise blue, candy-apple red and brown swirled around in a pattern that attempts to be argyle but doesn’t quite make it.” Thompson told the Washington Post in 2015 he had had to get his hands on one of those lucky sweaters. “There was so much tension from all the hype surrounding this game — I get too tense myself — that you’ve got to laugh a little. I did it to loosen the atmosphere.”
Big John wore the same sweater to the game and Georgetown left with an 85-69 win.