Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

John Thompson III Named New Head Coach

John Thompson III was announced as the head coach of the Georgetown men’s basketball team by University President John J. DeGioia at a press conference on April 20.

Former Princeton Head Coach Thompson, son of legendary Head Coach Emeritus John Thompson, is following his lineage back to the Hilltop just five years after his father stepped down and more than a month after Craig Esherick (GSB ’78, LAW ’82) was fired.

“John has all the qualifications that we were looking for in a head coach – he’s had head coaching success at a Division I university academically similar to Georgetown,” DeGioia said. “He has outstanding leadership and communication skills and has a deep commitment to the Georgetown tradition of academic excellence, integrity in competition and basketball success.”

At the press conference in Riggs Library, Thompson stood in front of his father and spoke about the unusual position he has inherited.

“I am John Thompson’s son. I’ve been John Thompson’s son for 38 years. And I’m pretty comfortable being John Thompson’s son,” he said, provoking laughter from the crowd. “No one’s going to put more pressure on me than myself. At Princeton I was John Thompson’s son, and that’s who I am. So if you guys can deal with that, I think I’ll be OK.”

Thompson is charged with the task of righting a program that has fallen to the bottom of the Big East. Esherick led the Hoyas to a 13-15 record this season, which ended without an invitation to a postseason tournament for the first time in 27 years.

Thompson, who graduated from Princeton in 1988, took over in 2000 and led the Tigers to three Ivy League titles and two NCAA tournament berths in four years as head coach. They lost to Texas in the first round this year. His overall record was 68-42.

While the rather large shadow of the elder Thompson may have faded in recent years as the program fell further and further from the success he built, the hiring of Thompson cannot help but call to mind those years. He inherits his father’s legacy of building Georgetown from a small, regional program into the 1984 national champions.

“I grew up on this campus, I grew up in McDonough Gym,” Thompson said. “It’s a part of who I am in as much as Princeton is. But growing up . [there] was a chant that was, `We are Georgetown’ . I love it. Because it’s `We are Georgetown.’ And when you say that, it’s the institution, it’s the administration, it’s the community, it’s Washington, D.C., it’s the other teams, the other members of the athletic department, it’s our program. And that’s what we have, a program, not a team. We are Georgetown. And a few people have forgotten that we’re Georgetown, and we’re going to work our tails off to remind them.”

“I came here based on tradition,” sophomore forward Brandon Bowman said after the conference. “I’m really looking forward to being like what I see on TV, what I grew up watching, hard core, fast-paced, defense, all that . I have no words, I’m just so excited.”

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