Former Hoyas All-American center Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) and veteran sports agent David Falk, along with his wife, Rhonda, made a joint $3.3 million donation to aid in the construction of the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center, announced Monday afternoon.
Hall of Fame Men’s Basketball Coach John Thompson Jr., after whom the center is named, has a close connection to both parties. Thompson recruited Ewing, and with the legendary coach’s tutelage and Ewing’s on-court leadership, they delivered Georgetown itss only men’s basketball championship in 1984. Falk was the long-time attorney and agent for Thompson, and later represented Ewing during his Hall of Fame professional career.
Georgetown University Athletic Director Lee Reed highlighted the contributions of Ewing, Falk and Thompson to the Hoya community.
“We are more than grateful to Patrick and David for their generosity in making a gift of that magnitude. This gift is just one piece of Patrick’s work for Georgetown, as he has been a generous ambassador for our university,” Reed said in an interview with The Hoya. “Patrick is still so connected to Georgetown in part because he had four years of wonderful undergrad experiences here, and Coach Thompson was like a second father to him. We can never repay Patrick for all that he has done.”
The $3.3 million donation amount was made in honor of the No. 33 uniform Ewing wore throughout his Georgetown and NBA career.
Ewing, currently the associate head coach of the Charlotte Hornets, credited Thompson with his development as a player, and as a person.
“Coach Thompson was my coach, mentor and friend,” Ewing said in a statement. “He guided me through a very formative period in my life and helped me prepare for success on and off the court. Giving back to the university in his honor is special.”
Falk also expressed his gratitude for Thompson’s wisdom and guidance, and for Ewing’s friendship.
“This is a very special opportunity for me to honor a man I love and respect,” Falk said in a statement. “To do it together with Patrick Ewing, who was a dominant figure in both John’s basketball program and in my career, makes it even more rewarding.”
Ewing’s tenure at Georgetown was indeed so dominant that the Hoyas reached the finals of the NCAA Tournament in three of his four seasons on the Hilltop. While Ewing made headlines with his on-court brilliance, Thompson developed both a winning program and a tradition for academic excellence.
“Coach Thompson was a real renaissance man. He not only taught the game, but he taught his players, including Patrick, what it meant to be good student-athletes. Academics and character were just as important to him as winning,” Reed said. “Coach Thompson had an impact on my career even though I had no connection to Georgetown when he was coaching, and he helped Georgetown establish the global brand that we enjoy today.”
Sept. 12 will mark the official groundbreaking for the $62 million Thompson Athletics Center, which will be located adjacent to McDonough Arena and will provide space for the new Georgetown Athletics Hall of Fame and men’s and women’s basketball coaches offices. In addition, weight-training, sports medicine, team meeting and practice facilities for all varsity programs will be housed in the four-story, 144,000-square-foot structure. The project is seen as a major piece in Georgetown’s $1.5 billion For Generations to Come fundraising campaign, and as such, the building is financed in full by philanthropic contributions.
According to University President John J. DeGioia, the new athletics center will be an asset for the future, while honoring the past.
“This foundational gift in recognition of Coach Thompson Jr. will benefit all of our students engaged in intercollegiate athletics for generations to come,” DeGioia said in a statement. “As the Thompson Athletics Center both reflects and builds upon a longstanding tradition here at Georgetown, we’re deeply grateful for the support and generosity of an extraordinary alumnus, Patrick Ewing, and a friend of the university, David Falk.”