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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Men's Basketball

UH men’s basketball mourns the death of sport icon coach John Thompson


UH head coach Kelvin Sampson answers a question from the media following a 75-62 win against Tulane during the 2019-20 season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

UH head coach Kelvin Sampson answers a question from the media following a 75-62 win against Tulane during the 2019-20 season. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

The Houston men’s basketball team joins the basketball world in mourning the death of former Georgetown head coach John Thompson on Monday morning. He was 78 years old.

Throughout his career as the head coach of Georgetown, he accumulated a 596-239 record, which included winning the 1984 national championship against Houston.

“It doesn’t seem enough to call Big John an icon or a giant in our game. He was and will always be,” head coach Kelvin Sampson shared in a tweet on Monday morning. “The impact he had on me as a young coach trying to make it in this profession we call coaching was as big as he was.

“Thank you for your wisdom and thank you for being someone that looked like me to give me the hope that I could be like you.”

Thompson’s time in Georgetown saw him coach NBA legends Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Allen Iverson.

“The power and conviction that ‘Big John’ displayed for his players was unparalleled,” assistant head coach Kellen Sampson wrote on Twitter. “He was a TITAN in our profession and allowed for other men of color to be seen as more than recruiters. Coach Thompson was a ball coach and a father figure to so many.”

Thompson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

When he led the Hoyas to the 84-75 victory over the Cougars to win the national championship, he became the first Black head coach to ever lead a team to a major championship, which inspired an entire generation.

UH track and field coach Leroy Burell also took a moment on Monday morning to honor Thompson.

“We lost another black icon last night,” Burrell tweeted. “John was a vanguard. He lead 1984 Hoyas to the NCAA championship defeating my Cougars and became the first black coach to win a major championship. RIP coach, prayers for his family.”

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