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Legendary Georgetown coach John Thompson is dead at 78

Legendary Georgetown Hoyas coach John Thompson. (Image source: YouTube/ESPN)

John Thompson, the legendary coach who literally and figuratively towered over the Georgetown Hoyas collegiate basketball program in the 1980s, has died. He was 78.

Thompson became a near-mythical figure when he became the first Black man to win the NCAA basketball championship in 1984. He also won two NBA championships with the Boston Celtics in 1965 and 1966 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

The news that Thompson passed away was confirmed by his surviving family members on Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, according to Washington, D.C.’s The Team 980 and 95.9 FM, which air Hoyas games, and later confirmed by ABC News. His cause of death had not been released as of this writing.

The cause of death has not been determined by press time.

Thompson is arguably most famous for taking the Hoyas to three consecutive Division I NCAA championships in a row between 1983 and 1985, winning the title in 1984. He also was the coach of three future Hall of Fame players: Patrick Ewing, Allen “A.I.” Iverson and Alonzo Mourning.

He was a formidable figure in both stature and presence. He stood as tall or taller than most of his players and developed a reputation as a no-nonsense coach who protected, nurtured and became a fatherly figure to his mostly Black players.

Thompson is the patriarch of a coaching dynasty at Georgetown. His son, John Thompson III, became a head coach in the program in the late 1990s, and his most famous player, Ewing, is currently the head coach at Georgetown.

Quickly after learning of his passing on Monday morning, accolades for this venerated D.C. figure began pouring in.

First, check out the memorial on Thompson on ESPN below.