Longtime Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson Jr., who coached the school to the 1984 national championship, has died at age 78. So far no cause of death has been revealed.
Thompson coached at the university between 1972 to 1999, leaving behind a legacy that included a record of 596-239. His career was so legendary, in fact, that 87 percent of his players stayed all four years and left with a college degree. Among those he helped recruit and develop during his time at Georgetown were Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, and Dikembe Mutombo, all of whom are Hall of Fame players. When he resigned from the team in 1999, he was replaced by assistant Craig Esherick, who was then replaced by Thompson's eldest son, John Thompson III.
"We are heartbroken to share the news of the passing of our father, John Thompson, Jr.," his family confirmed in a statement. "Our father was an inspiration to many and devoted his life to developing young people not simply on, but most importantly, off the basketball court. He is revered as a historic shepherd of the sport, dedicated to the welfare of his community above all else. However, for us, his greatest legacy remains as a father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. More than a coach, he was our foundation. More than a legend, he was the voice in our ear everyday."
Prior to his career as a coach, Thompson played for the Boston Celtics. He was gearing up to release an autobiography this upcoming January. Earlier this year he retired from the Nike board of directors, where he'd been a member since 1991.