Sports world mourns the loss of Georgetown legend John Thompson Jr.
John Thompson Jr. died at age 78. Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT/Sipa USA

John Thompson Jr., the iconic Georgetown Hoyas basketball coach who became the first Black coach to win an NCAA championship, has died at the age of 78.

Thompson, who began his basketball career at Providence in 1961, was drafted as a third-round pick by the Boston Celtics in 1964. While his NBA career lasted for only a few seasons, he won back-to-back championships with the Celtics in 1965 and ’66.

After retiring as a player, Thompson became the head coach at St. Anthony High School in Washington, D.C. He served in that role from 1966-72, compiling a 122-28 record and building an unforgettable powerhouse.

Georgetown hired him in 1972, a decision that would go down as one of the best in the athletic department’s history. From 1972-99, the Hoyas won a national championship (1984) and made it to the Final Four three times.

Thompson stepped down as Georgetown’s basketball coach in January 1999, finishing his career with a 595-239 overall record. During his time with the Hoyas, he coached basketball icons like Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning.

On a painful day for many across the basketball world, Iverson and many others from around the game honored Thompson and paid tribute to the impact he made on their lives.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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