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

Welcome To a New Thompson Era

I remember the first Midnight Madness of the John Thompson III era. It was a night of hope and optimism, tinged with uncertainty and anxiety. A new coach with an old name had arrived, determined to bring the Hoyas back to national prominence and revive some of the traditions that he knew so well as a child. That night, coach took the microphone at McDonough and tried to lead the crowd in a call and response chant he remembered from his younger days: “We are . Georgetown!” After a few unsuccessful attempts, the crowd finally put together a spirited though mostly disjointed chant.

How far we’ve come.

That night, no one knew what the JT III era would bring. I was cautiously optimistic, and walked out of McDonough feeling pretty good, albeit a bit wary. As the team worked through the 2004-05 season, the negatives were balanced by the positives. The season-opening 18-point loss to Temple faded away after the Big East-opening win at Pitt. The five-game losing streak that took us off the bubble was nearly negated by a tremendous effort that fell just short against Connecticut in the Big East tournament. The momentum was beginning to build.

Something seemed different as the 2005-06 season tipped off. I walked into Alumni Hall at the Naval Academy for our season opener, and was blown awayby the student section . our student section. “Hoya Saxa!” and “We Are Georgetown!” made their season debuts in Annapolis that night, and it was the beginning of a ride that included the defeat of top-ranked and undefeated Duke in January and ended with Georgetown’s first NCAA tournament appearance in five years, and a Sweet 16 loss to the eventual national champions. Coach was teaching, the players were learning and Hoya Blue was growing.

This season opened with a 4-3 record out of the gate. Coach never wavered, though – nor did the team. Their confidence and resilience led them to a Big East regular season championship, a Big East tournament championship and now to the Final Four. Sunday night at the Meadowlands, as the Hoyas climbed the stage to accept the East Regional championship trophy, JT III took the CBS microphone, looked to the assembled Hoya fans and simply said, “WE ARE!” The reply reverberated throughout the arena: “GEORGETOWN!”

JT III has been here for three seasons, and each has been better than the last. The coach, the team, the fans, Hoya Blue . each has made its unique contribution to the success of this program. Each has taken steps forward, leading the march of the Hoyas through Winston-Salem, N.C., and the Meadowlands to Atlanta.

Along the way, we have gone from hopeful but uncertain to confident and united. As I plan my trip to Atlanta later this week, I couldn’t be more proud of JT III and the team, nor more excited to be a part of our Final Four experience.

We are Georgetown. And we are going to the Final Four.

How far we’ve come.

Neil Sumilas is a 1996 graduate of the School of Foreign Service and assistant treasurer of the Hoya Hoop Club.

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