Following in the footsteps of Georgetown men’s basketball greats Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) and Jeff Green (COL ’12), All-American Roy Hibbert (COL ’08) made a donation toward the construction of the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center, prompting fan-favorite CasualHoya to launch a giving campaign of its own.
The Indiana Pacers center’s $1 million gift came on Sept. 2, on the occasion of Thompson Jr.’s 73rd birthday.
The Thompson Athletic Center has gained a total of $5.3 million from these three donations in the past 11 days alone.
Hibbert credited Thompson Jr.’s son, current Head Coach John Thompson III, for his development as a player and a man during his time on the Hilltop.
“I am deeply indebted to Georgetown University and the basketball program for all they have done for me,” Hibbert said in a statement. “I put in a lot of hard work to get where I am, but I was given a tremendous amount of guidance both on and off the floor from Coach Thompson III and I wouldn’t be here without him.”
A member of Georgetown’s back-to-back Big East regular-season championship teams spanning 2006 to 2008, Hibbert brought the university closer to its $62 million overall funding goal with his donation.
Thompson III returned Hibbert’s gratitude with kind words of his own for his former player.
“This gift is significant but it is only one of the ways that [Hibbert] supports those who are coming behind him at Georgetown,” Thompson III said in a statement. “He has consistently shown that he is a man of actions, not merely words.”
The construction of the center will commence Sept. 12 with a groundbreaking ceremony. Highly touted Class of 2015 recruits Dwayne Bacon and Bryant Crawford will make their official visits to Georgetown on that day, making it a crucial day for Georgetown varsity athletics, and men’s basketball in particular.
In the midst of this flurry of donations, CasualHoya.com founder Andrew Geiger (COL ’99) has launched The Casual Campaign to aid what he considers a vital fundraising process.
“I believe the timely completion of the Thompson Center is the single most important venture for the future success and sustainability of the Georgetown basketball program,” Geiger wrote in an email. “In this new era of conference realignment and with Georgetown entering its second season in a very different-looking Big East, the school needs a facility like the [Thompson Athletic Center] in order to remain competitive with other programs both in and outside of the conference that are competing for the same top recruits.”
As the founder of the popular Georgetown men’s basketball blog, Geiger has engendered a significant response from the Georgetown community through his campaign.
“Since CasualHoya.com is the biggest site on the Internet for Georgetown basketball fans, I felt compelled to do what I could in order to help the cause,” Geiger wrote. “The response to The Casual Campaign has been overwhelmingly positive, and the timing of the initiative in concert with the donations from Ewing/Falk, Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert was perfect as there is an energy among Hoyas basketball fans right now about the project and a desire to make sure it gets completed on time.”
With the looming 2014-2015 basketball season, the importance of Hibbert’s gift and the Thompson Athletic Center project as a whole comes into clearer focus. The Thompson Athletic Center will house the new Georgetown Athletics Hall of Fame and men’s and women’s basketball coaches’ offices. The four-story, 144,000-square foot structure will be built adjacent to McDonough Arena, and will contain weight-training, sports medicine, team meeting and practice facilities for all varsity programs.