John Thompson III

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John Thompson III
JTIII campout.jpg
John Thompson III outside McDonough Gymnasium on March 26, 2007, following his return to the Georgetown University campus after defeating North Carolina to reach the 2007 Final Four.
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1966-03-11) March 11, 1966 (age 51)
Boston, Massachusetts
Playing career
1984–1988 Princeton
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1995–2000 Princeton (asst.)
2000–2004 Princeton
2004–2017 Georgetown
Head coaching record
Overall 346–193 (.642)
Accomplishments and honors
Big East Tournament championship (2007)
Big East regular season championships (2007, 2008, 2013)
Ivy League regular season championships (2001, 2002, 2004)
Big East Coach of the Year (2013)

Princeton 68–42 (.618)

Georgetown 278–151 (.648)

John Robert Thompson III (born March 11, 1966) is the former head coach of the men's basketball team at Georgetown University. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and was named first team All-Metro by The Washington Post while playing for Gonzaga College High School in 1984. Thompson was hired on April 20, 2004 to replace Craig Esherick and was fired at the end of the 2017 season, completing 13 years as Georgetown's coach. Prior to being hired at Georgetown, Thompson was the head coach for four years at his alma mater, Princeton University.

Coaching career[edit]


Thompson is the son of John Thompson, Jr. (Georgetown's head coach from 1972 to 1999), and a 1988 graduate of Princeton. Thompson, whose nickname is JT3, served as an assistant coach at Princeton under head coaches Pete Carril and Bill Carmody from 1995 through 2000. After being promoted to head coach, he compiled a 68–42 record with the Tigers from 2000 to 2004 and guided the team to three Ivy League championships, two NCAA Tournament appearances, and one National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearance. Three of his players earned Ivy League Player of the Year honors.


Thompson immediately introduced the Princeton offense at Georgetown, a style of play that he learned from coach Pete Carril at Princeton. The rarity of this style, and Thompson's success at adapting it to work with the brawnier Georgetown players, has been cited by The Washington Post as one of the major reasons for the team's quick turnaround. In Thompson's first year at Georgetown (2004–05), the Hoyas improved from 13–15 to a record of 19–13 and the team reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Thompson's first notable win with the team took place on January 21, 2006, when unranked Georgetown upset No. 1 Duke. This was Georgetown's first win over a No. 1 ranked team in 21 years. Thompson also achieved his 100th win as a head coach a few nights later with an 85–82 win in double overtime at Notre Dame.

Thompson talks with a referee in a 2006 game

The Hoyas made the 2006 NCAA Tournament as a #7 seed. They defeated the Northern Iowa in the first round and upset #2 seed Ohio State in the second round to make the "Sweet Sixteen", where they lost to the eventual national champions, Florida. In that tournament, the Hoyas were the only team to hold Florida to a victory under 10 points (they lost by four), and also the only team to lead Florida in the second half of a game.

In 2007, after starting with a record of 4–3, Thompson led the Hoyas to their first Big East regular season and Big East Tournament championships since 1989. Thompson also coached the 2006–07 Big East Player of the Year, Georgetown forward Jeff Green.

Thompson's 2007 NCAA Tournament was one marked with success. The Hoyas were awarded a #2 seed in the East Region. After an opening round win over Belmont and a second round victory in a hard-fought game against Boston College, the Hoyas faced Vanderbilt in the "Sweet Sixteen." On March 23, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Thompson′s Hoyas defeated Vanderbilt, 66–65, on the strength of Jeff Green's game-winning shot and advanced to the NCAA Tournament "Elite Eight" for the first time since 1996. Against Vanderbilt, the Hoyas rallied from 13 points down in the first half and held on despite 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert fouling out in the final minutes. Two days later, on March 25, 2007, Thompson led the Hoyas to the 2007 NCAA Final Four with a 96–84 overtime victory against the University of North Carolina. The Hoyas were defeated 67–60 by Ohio State in the Final Four. Despite the loss, John Thompson III led the team on an impressive run to its first Final Four since 1985. In September 2007, Thompson signed a six-year contract extension that would keep him at Georgetown until 2013.

In March 2008, Thompson and Georgetown went to the 2008 NCAA Tournament, again as a #2 seed. After defeating #15 seed University of Maryland-Baltimore County 66–47, the Hoyas were upset in the second round by #10 seed Davidson and their star player Stephen Curry by a score of 74–70.

The 2008–09 season started with the Hoyas a Top 20 ranked team and a strong candidate to compete for the Big East title. They got off to a hot start (12–3) and saw their ranking rise as high as No. 9. But then the team went on a terrible slide, losing 11 of their next 15 and finishing the season 16–15, the worst record in Thompson's five years at the helm.

Four seasons of regular-season success followed by early NCAA Tournament exits ensued. In 2009-10, Thompson led the Hoyas to a 23-11 record, an appearance in the 2010 Big East Tournament final, a No. 12 ranking in the country, and a return to the NCAA Tournament, but the third-seeded Hoyas were upset in the first round by 14th seed Ohio. In 2010-11, the Hoyas posted a 21-11 record, but in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, seeded sixth, lost to 11th seed VCU in their first game. In 2011-12, Georgetown finished 24-9 and ranked 15th in the nation, but, seeded third in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, lost to 11th seed North Carolina State in their second game. In 2012-13, the Hoyas had a 25-7 record, were ranked No. 8 in the nation, and were seeded second in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, but were upset by 15th seed Florida Gulf Coast in their first game.

During the 2013 offseason, Thompson oversaw the Hoyas during a major conference realignment in which Georgetown and six other Big East schools left the conference to join Butler, Creighton, and Xavier in forming a new Big East Conference, the original Big East then renaming itself the American Athletic Conference. In 2013-14, Thompson′s team got off to a slow start in the new conference, posting an 18-15 record, losing in the first round of the 2014 Big East Tournament, and then losing in the second round of the 2014 NIT to Florida State. The Hoyas recovered in 2014-15, finishing with a 22-11 record and ranked 22nd in the country, but, seeded fourth in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, they again had an early exit from the postseason, losing to fifth seed Utah in their second game.

The two most difficult seasons of Thompson's career followed. In 2015-16, Georgetown posted the school′s first losing record since Craig Esherick′s last year as coach in 2003-04, finishing 15-18, and also received no invitation to either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT for the first time since 2003-04 and only the second time since 1973-74. It was also the first time in Thompson′s head coaching career that he had coached a team to a losing record. In 2016-17, Georgetown finished 5-13 in the Big East and 14-18 overall – the greatest number of losses for a Georgetown team in either edition of the Big East Conference and the first time Georgetown had consecutive losing seasons since 1971-72 and 1972-73 – and received no invitation to either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1972-73 and 1973-1974. On March 23, 2017, Georgetown officials announced that Thompson had been fired.[1][2][3]

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Princeton (Ivy League) (2000–2004)
2000–01 Princeton 16–11 11–3 1st NCAA First Round
2001–02 Princeton 16–12 11–3 T–1st NIT First Round
2002–03 Princeton 16–11 10–4 3rd
2003–04 Princeton 20–8 13–1 1st NCAA First Round
Princeton: 68–42 (.618) 45–11 (.804)
Georgetown (Big East Conference) (2004–2017)
2004–05 Georgetown 19–13 8–8 T–7th NIT Quarterfinals
2005–06 Georgetown 23–10 10–6 T–4th NCAA Sweet 16
2006–07 Georgetown 30–7 13–3 1st NCAA Final Four
2007–08 Georgetown 28–6 15–3 1st NCAA Round of 32
2008–09 Georgetown 16–15 7–11 11th NIT First Round
2009–10 Georgetown 23–11 10–8 7th NCAA Round of 64
2010–11 Georgetown 21–11 10–8 8th NCAA Round of 64
2011–12 Georgetown 24–9 12–6 T–4th NCAA Round of 32
2012–13 Georgetown 25–7 14–4 T–1st NCAA Round of 64
2013–14 Georgetown 18–15 8–10 7th NIT Second Round
2014–15 Georgetown 22–11 12–6 T–2nd NCAA Round of 32
2015–16 Georgetown 15–18 7–11 8th
2016–17 Georgetown 14–18 5–13 9th
Georgetown: 278–151 (.653) 131–94 (.580)
Total: 346–193 (.641)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion



External links[edit]