Reaction to the death of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson

Sports

FILE – In this April 2, 1984, file photo, Georgetown head coach John Thompson, left, gives a happy pat to the most valuable player Patrick Ewing, after Georgetown defeated Houston 84-75 in Seattle. John Thompson, the imposing Hall of Famer who turned Georgetown into a “Hoya Paranoia” powerhouse and became the first Black coach to lead a team to the NCAA men’s basketball championship, has died. He was 78 His death was announced in a family statement Monday., Aug. 31, 2020. No details were disclosed.(AP Photo/File)

Reaction from the sports world to the death of former Georgetown basketball coach and Hall of Famer John Thompson:

“Georgetown University, the sport of basketball and the world has lost someone who I consider to be a father figure, confidant and role model. He has done so much to impact my life and the people he has coached and mentored along the way. However, his reach went well beyond just those who he knew personally. He changed the world and helped shape the way we see it. He was a great coach but an even better person and his legacy is everlasting.” — Patrick Ewing, former Georgetown star and current coach.

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“The world has lost a revolutionary icon and a leader. Today, I have lost a father figure, life long coach, and one of my greatest mentors. Coach Thompson, saved my life … continuously motivating and molding me into the man that I am today.” — former Georgetown star Alonzo Mourning.

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“Coach Thompson was truly a great man and a legend in college basketball. He had such a profound impact on his players and was a father figure to so many of them. I admired him and loved him dearly.” — Charlotte Hornets owner and NBA great Michael Jordan in a tweet.

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“He was one of a kind. There aren’t that many. He brought a presence to the game that nobody does, has. He was a great coach, but he was also a role model for a lot of coaches — white coaches and Black coaches. He set a standard and the rivalry we had with him was like none other because of him, his presence.” — Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.

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“He was an incredibly strong person who always put his players first and fought for them at every turn. Repeatedly, I was amazed at his passion for doing what is right, even when unpopular and no one was looking. Given his record of success and dedicated advocacy for college basketball and other social issues, John was a one-of-a-kind leader and an absolute treasure. … I loved him, admired him, and will miss him dearly.” — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

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“John Thompson, on and off the basketball court, was a great example of an outstanding gentleman, conscientious student and an unselfish teammate who always left his ego in the locker room. I know I speak for all his Providence College fellow students, teachers and our NIT championship basketball teammates and coaches who will always remember John Thompson as an honorable man who we were all proud to call a friend.” — former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn, a teammate of Thompson’s at Providence.

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“Forty-eight years ago, he joined the Georgetown community and with his distinctive style, commitment to excellence, and clear sense of purpose, transformed Georgetown Basketball. We are a better University because of John’s leadership. He challenged us to live up to our values and enabled all of us to see new possibilities, for ourselves, and for the impact we could have on the world.” — Georgetown President John J. DeGioia.

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“His dedication to the game of basketball was eclipsed by his unabashed determination to challenge norms and call out social injustices, and we are deeply saddened that the quest for racial equity has lost one of its most powerful advocates.” — Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman.

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“Coach Thompson took the helm at Georgetown in 1972, vowing to turn around the program and bring a national championship to the nation’s capital. He made good on that promise in 1984 and had an immeasurable impact on the players he coached in his 27 year legacy.” — Basketball Hall of Fame President John L. Doleva.

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“Last night, we losta towering figure in coach John Thompson, whose shoulders many of us stand on. A true teacher, leader, and mentor, he impacted countless lives through his work and his example. He modeled fierce intelligence, high standards, and incredible grace in his care for players, on and off the court.” — Texas coach Shaka Smart.

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“I vividly remember him walking off the court in protest against the infamous Proposition 48 legislation. It was the first time I’d noticed a coach taking the lead to fight against injustice. It’s fitting that this past week NBA players — many years later — followed his lead in walking off the court.” -– George Mason coach Dave Paulsen.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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