Georgetown University to break ground on athletics facility

Georgetown University is set to break ground over the summer on a state-of-the-art athletic facility that will be named in honor of former longtime men’s basketball coach John Thompson Jr. and built adjacent to McDonough Arena, school officials confirmed Tuesday.

The John R. Thompson Intercollegiate Athletics Center will cost an estimated $60 million and will house practice courts, locker rooms for basketball and other sports, offices for men’s and women’s basketball coaching staffs and team meeting rooms.

Completion of the 144,000-square foot facility to be used by all 29 of Georgetown’s sports programs is forecasted for 2016. The basketball teams will continue to play games at their current venues, with the men at Verizon Center and the women at McDonough.

“We’re very excited to be able to have the opportunity to recognize the career of John Thompson Jr. in this way,” Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed said in a statement. “Coach Thompson’s legacy as a leader, a teacher and a coach are unparalleled in college athletics. Having his name on this building is a fitting honor.”

Thompson coached the Hoyas from 1972 through 1999 and directed Georgetown to its first and only national championship in 1984, becoming the first African American coach to win a major college title. Under Thompson, Georgetown went to the Final Four three times in four seasons, won seven Big East Conference regular season and six tournament titles and appeared in 20 NCAA tournaments.

Thompson was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame upon his retirement as the winningest coach in school history with a record of 596-214. He was named Big East coach of the year following the 1979-80, 1986-87 and 1991-92 seasons and had 26 players drafted in the NBA, among them Patrick Ewing and Allen Iverson, both of whom were selected first overall.

“John Thompson Jr. embodies the most profound values, the deepest values that animate the Georgetown community,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia said. “He showed us what it meant to be true to our mission, to live authentically.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.

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