The legendary Georgetown head coach John Thompson passed away last year. Still, his legacy, achievements, and impact will forever be remembered, especially by those who had the opportunity to be coached by this legendary man. After spending two years in the NBA, in which he won two championships for the Boston Celtics, Thompson dedicated his life to inspiring others and being a coach and a father figure for many of his players.
Thompson spent 27 years with Georgetown Hoyas developing several HOF NBA players along the way. His approach was different from other coaches because he really wanted to connect with his players personally, which Allen Iverson can attest to because Thompson provided a father figure for him when he needed it the most.
Throughout his career, Thompson showcased compassion and guidance for his players, but he was also an old-school coach who didn’t tolerate misbehavior and wanted his players to be fully dedicated to the ultimate goal. In his book ‘I came as a shadow’, Thompson details how he handled players who were drinking beers on the campus, and he found out about their activities and decided to punish them in practice in a unique way.
The next practice, I ran the hell out of them before giving them a water break. Every player had his own water bottle with his number on it. I had put Heineken in the water bottles of the beer drinkers.John Thompson, via I came as a shadow
Thompson also wasn’t afraid to cuss his players out when needed because he understood that for some of them, that was the only way they would understand the severity of the situation they got themselves in.
I hit them with every curse word in the book and might have invented a couple more on the spot. It’s not Gatorade, it’s what yall were drinking last night. Ya’ll think I’m stupid? I know what ya’ll are doing, and it better stop.John Thompson, via I came as a shadow
That is an unorthodox way of punishing his players but definitely something that needed to be done to get his message across. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine coaches in the NCAA or NBA doing something similar to what Thompson did, which is one of the reasons he is one of the most decorated college coaches. Thompson proved throughout the years his system and the values he imposes on his players’ works, and if you look at his resume, there is no question he is an all-time great coach.