Georgetown men’s basketball Head Coach John Thompson III will not return to the team next season, university President John DeGioia announced in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
“It is with profound regret and deep appreciation that I informed John Thompson III this morning that the University will no longer be retaining his services as our Head Men’s Basketball Coach.”
Thompson began coaching the Hoyas in the 2004-05 season and posted a record of 278-151, including 131-96 in the Big East, in his 13 seasons as head coach. He led the Hoyas to the 2007 Final Four as well as the 2007 Big East Tournament Championship—which the team won. The 2007 Final Four run was the first time the Hoyas had been further than the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament since 1996. He was named the 2007 National Association of Basketball Coaches Coach of the Year and also coached the Hoyas to three regular season Big East championships in 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2012-13. The 2012-13 team, led by Otto Porter Jr., won 11 straight games during conference play, and Thompson was named Big East Coach of the Year that season. Georgetown reached the Big East Tournament Championship game three times under Thompson’s guidance.
The Blue and Gray reached the postseason in each of Thompson’s first 11 seasons, but the team has missed postseason action in each of the last two years, which are also the first back-to-back losing seasons the program has posted since 1971-72 and 1972-73.
Since the reformulation of the Big East in the 2013-14 season, the Hoyas have struggled. The Blue and Gray are just 32-40 in league play since the new-look conference began. Only DePaul (14-58), St. John’s (28-44), and Marquette (31-41) have worse records over that period. Overall, the Blue and Gray are 69-62 since 2013-14.
Georgetown has also struggled mightily in the postseason since the 2007 Final Four, as they have not advanced past the first weekend of Tournament play since then. In 2008, the second-seeded Hoyas fell to tenth-seeded Davidson, who were led by Stephen Curry, in the second round. The team then lost to 14-seed Ohio, 11-seed Virginia Commonwealth, 11-seed North Carolina State, and 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast in the NCAA Tournament from 2010-2013, respectively.
On March 11, the team’s top 2017 recruit, Tremont Waters, announced his decommitment from Georgetown, pending official release from National Letter of Intent paperwork he signed with the school last November. Waters is the 33rd overall player in his class, and is ranked 8th amongst all point guards, according to ESPN. He was the highest rated recruit to commit to Georgetown since Isaac Copeland in 2014.
It has also been reported that junior forward Trey Mourning, son of former Hoya great Alonzo Mourning, seeks to transfer from the school. Should Mourning transfer, the team would be left with just eight scholarship slots filled next season.
The most notable win of Thompson’s career came on Jan. 21, 2006, when the unranked Hoyas beat then-No. 1 Duke at home, 87-84. The victory marked the first time Georgetown had beaten a No. 1 team in 21 years. The Hoyas also swept arch-rival Syracuse in the Orange’s last season as a member of the Big East in 2012-13, helping the Hoyas capture the regular season conference championship.
Every player Thompson coached for four years at Georgetown graduated.
“His performance as a coach has been exceptional, and he has served our community with remarkable distinction and integrity, sustaining our commitment to the academic performance of our students and providing them with the very best preparation for their lives beyond the Hilltop,” DeGioia’s statement said.
Prior to his tenure on the Hilltop, Thompson posted a 68-42 record as head coach of Princeton. He is 346-191 in his career and has won conference championships six times in seventeen seasons.
In a statement released through his agent, Thompson thanked the university and fans.
“I am honored to have been the Head Coach at Georgetown University for the past 13 years, where I had the privilege of coaching and mentoring outstanding student-athletes. I am proud of what my players have accomplished on the court and how they are thriving since leaving Georgetown,” Thompson’s statement said. “I am grateful to the fans for their tremendous support. Georgetown Basketball has been a part of my life since 1972, which makes this moment even more impactful but I look forward to my next chapter.”
A team spokesman announced early Thursday evening that the search for a new coach will be led by Paul Tagliabue, Vice Chair of Georgetown’s Board of Directors, and Athletic Director Lee Reed. Tagliabue, who graduated from Georgetown College in 1962, served as Commissioner of the National Football League from 1989 to 2006. No timetable regarding the hiring of a new coach was provided.
This piece will be updated as more information becomes available.
Image Credits: Alex Boyd/The Georgetown Voice