Legendary Georgetown Coach John Thompson Dies At 78

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.

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.

Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.


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  1. I’m very sad to hear this. He was the last big man’s coach. As a kid I loved Georgetown basketball and Coach Thompson’s style. The days of Mourning and Mutumbo were awesome to watch, soon followed by Iverson. Those teams were physically imposing, tough as nails, and it was a must see basketball war when they tangled with Derrick Coleman and Syracuse. I loved the hard nosed tenacity Thompson teams played with. He was also a tremendous and insightful color commentator after coaching ended. One of the great coaches in basketball history, John Thompson will be missed.

  2. Sad news. Georgetown went 3-23 the year after I graduated. Coach Thompson took over the next year and it was fun to watch him put the Hoyas on the map. I moved to Baton Rouge in 1982 and saw the Hoyas play North Carolina for the 1982 NCAA championship at the New Orleans Superdome. Michael Jordan’s team won. I remarked to my friend, “That James Worthy guy is pretty good too”. Rest In Peace Coach.

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