April 20, 2004
Georgetown has a John Thompson back on the sidelines. Oh how time flies ... I remember when Thompson was a superstar, a heavyweight champion of the coaching profession, strolling on the sidelines. Big John had a dominating team that reflected his personality.
Under Thompson, the Hoyas scrapped and clawed and won the national championship in 1984 (they also reached the title game in '82 and '85). They got out in transition and forced turnovers, and opponents knew they were in for a battle. His teams played with tremendous intensity and emotion.
Now the name Thompson surfaces again in Washington, D.C. John Thompson III, the son of Big John, was hired Tuesday as the Hoyas' head coach. Thompson III played for the Princeton Tigers under uber-respected coach Pete Carril and was a four-year head coach at his alma mater.
The younger Thompson led the Tigers to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths during his four-year stay, including this past March, when Princeton fell to Texas in the first round.
You know there'll be some excitement with the Hoyas program now that the name Thompson is back on the sideline. The 38-year-old is ready for this opportunity, and the bottom line is that he did a solid job in the Ivy League.
Thompson has a great understanding of the game and has been around lots of sharp minds. I believe he will be the perfect remedy at Georgetown.
After a fast start against Cupcake City opponents, last season was a disappointment for the Hoyas under former coach Craig Esherick. The Hoyas wouldn't have made it into the Big East tournament if not for Miami's loss on the final night of the regular season.
Georgetown closed the season on a nine-game losing streak, and the 13-15 record was the school's worst in 31 years. There was little doubt that Georgetown wanted a coach who could pump more life back into the program, though Esherick was always a class person and a classy coach.
One thing the Hoyas must change is the scheduling philosophy. Building up a 10-0 record every year against cupcake teams gives a false sense of ability. It was a different story when the team faced its Big East schedule. Teams need some balance in their scheduling. It's imperative to toughen up the schedule so there are some early tests.
Something tells me that a revival is coming to Georgetown with the name Thompson at the helm.
Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.