The world of collegiate basketball witnessed history on this day in 1984 after the Georgetown Hoyas men’s team vanquished the Houston Cougars in the NCAA basketball championship game. The win made Hoyas coach John Thompson the first Black coach to win a major college basketball title.
Georgetown University’s hire of Thompson, a former Boston Celtics backup to the great Bill Russell, was not without its controversy. Racist taunts and jeers were aimed at the 6-foot-10 Thompson but he never wavered in the face of it. The 1983-84 season was a successful one on the( (literal) heels of future NBA legend Patrick Ewing, with the team breezing through the Big East conference winning the regular season and conference tournament titles.
The Hoyas, led by senior team captain Gene Smith, shined behind the play of Reggie Williams, Michael Jackson, David Wingate, and the aforementioned Ewing. The NCAA title game, held at the Kingdome in Seattle Washington, saw the Hoyas squaring off against the talented University of Houston squad led by the swift-footed big man Akeem Olajuwon, Reid Gettys, Benny Anders, and Greg Anderson, also known as “Phi Slama Jama.”
Although the game was hard fought and coach Guy Lewis did his best to outwit his opponent on the sideline, the Hoyas took the game with a 84-75 win and Ewing was named the game’s MVP. Today, Ewing prowls along the sideline as the Hoyas head coach after a long career as an assistant coach in the NBA.
Coach Thompson moved into broadcasting and hosted a popular radio show then went on to cover basketball as a host for Westwood One.
PHOTO: Westwood One
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