More than 1,400 students and alumni have signed a petition to dismiss the head coach of Georgetown’s men’s basketball team John Thompson III as of Wednesday evening.

The petition, launched Feb. 25 by Roey Hadar (SFS ’17) and Brendan Doyle (COL ’17), will be delivered to university administrators Friday.

An event created on Facebook to advertise the petition has about 1,700 students invited and over 450 students marked “attending.”

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed said in a statement to The Hoya that Georgetown remains committed to Thompson.

“We remain confident in Coach Thompson’s ability to lead a team comprised of student athletes who achieve academically, are prepared for a future beyond Georgetown, and will be competitive on a national level,” Reed said in the statement.

The petition is addressed to Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia, Reed, board of directors Chair William J. Doyle and members of the board of directors.

The petition argues that Thompson has led the team to its worst four-year record of any period in Georgetown basketball since the 1970s, and that a change is necessary to secure the basketball program’s future.

“We acknowledge the immensely valuable contributions Coach Thompson and his father John Thompson, Jr., have made to this University, including to the personal development of players and to the integrity of the Athletic Department,” the petition reads. “We believe, however, that both a change in coach and a change in approach, facilitated by conducting the Athletic Department’s affairs with a greater willingness to engage the University’s fan base and the media, will help the program succeed in the long-term.”

Hader and Doyle aren’t the first to call Thompson’s abilities as a coach into question. A Feb. 24 commentary in The Hoya called for the university to remove Thompson, citing a loss of faith in the men’s basketball team, while an article in fan discussion website Casual Hoya last month also called for the coach’s removal.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman published a column yesterday detailing the tensions around Thompson’s tenure. ESPN shows “Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption” referenced these articles while discussing Thompson’s future.

Hader said he and Doyle first shared their concerns in a comment thread on the Georgetown basketball blog and Casual Hoya. According to Hader, Georgetown’s 86-80 loss against St. John’s provided the final push to launch the petition.

“We started messaging on Facebook with each other also, trying to come up with ideas. Then we drafted up this petition on either Thursday or Friday, and made it public on Saturday just after the St. John’s game,” Hader said.

The two fans were motivated to start the petition, according to Hader, by what they saw as the increasingly dire state of the men’s basketball program.

“If we don’t make a change, donors will eventually stop donating, season ticket holders will eventually cancel their subscriptions, students will continue to become increasingly apathetic about the basketball program and eventually that will adversely impact other parts of the university,” Hader said.

Doyle said the response to the petition has been largely positive.

“We’ve heard a lot of support from current students, from recent alumni, from other alumni,” Doyle said. “A lot of people have been willing to tell us that they’re supporting us, and we’re hoping we can leverage that support into making a meaningful change.”

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6 Comments

  1. The Real SFS 2016 says:

    Knowing Roey is behind this makes me suspect there may be some racial animus behind this petition.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    But I know there is a long history of Jewish people taking advantage of African Americans, from owning the slave ships that brought them to North and South America and dominating the slave trade, to having a higher percentage of slave ownership than the non-Jewish White population in the south prior to the Civil War, to the exploitation of black musicians during the Motown era, etc.

    I’ll wait a few days before signing the petition until I know more about what’s behind it.

    • Eye Roller says:

      “The Real SFS 2016,” dragging in race to the conversation, accusing a guy of racism, and then dragging his faith into it while bringing in anti-Semitic tropes? Looks like somebody’s trying to be an anonymous troll. (And yeah, yeah, I know what comes next. You’re gonna go after me for being anonymous too, accuse the kid of being racist with no proof again, and peddle a couple more lies about Jews while trying to bait another response. Nice try, loser.)

  2. While these students certainly are entitled to their opinion, they are misguided. Coach Thompson is an excellent coach who has achieved immense success while upholding the difficult off-court standards Georgetown demands. He is much more qualified than any likely replacement candidate. The efforts to dismiss him based upon two poor seasons are unjustified and harmful to Georgetown’s basketball and athletic programs. I hope that the administration has a broader and better perspective than those who have signed this petition, and I am proud to stand up as one of the many supporters of JT III.

  3. JTIII makes WAY too much money to be losing this often. I’m fine with keeping him if it means drastically reducing his nearly $3,000,000 salary.

  4. Mike Flynn says:

    JTIII is a good man but a bad coach. I cannot think of any ranked team using the Princeton offense? A good coach tries to get his best players on the floor and adapt the offensive and defensive style to the strengths of his players size and talents. You don’t hitch a race horse to a beer wagon! Georgetown never had a great offense even under Big John but a suffocating defense helped mask problems scoring. JTIII has never created a defense like his dad’s that put fear in the hearts of opponents. Bad offense plus a mediocre defense equals a bad team.

    If you have a big team most coaches go inside then out. If your talent is more guard heavy you press and drive more. The other glaring weakness is JTIII’s in game lack of ability to make quick adjustments. Being a good coach in the Ivy League doesn’t necessarily translate to the Big East. I have never seen him call a time out and rip into his players when they play lackadaisically?

    Face facts! If JTIII wasn’t the son of John Jr. he would have been fired years ago. He is both incompetent and untouchable?

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