I am writing this in response to the article titled “Students Lose Faith in Basketball Team.” As much as it pains me to type this, I must say I wholeheartedly agree with virtually everything said and believe the time for change is here. I am a 1984 graduate of Georgetown and was fortunate enough to be the sports editor of The Hoya at a time when Georgetown basketball was not only respected, but also feared. Today, the fear is gone. The respect remains, but our hold on it is increasingly tenuous.
The decline of the program over the last four years is head-scratching at best. The questions range from in-game coaching to player development to recruiting. Perhaps even more puzzling is people questioning the team’s toughness, its willingness to compete and its desire to defend and rebound. Head Coach John Thompson III and his staff must take their fair share of the blame. But it is not only the students being alienated. It is loyal alumni who have religiously attended games and donated dollars to support a program that has been a big part of their adult lives.
By all accounts, JTIII is a fine man and a great representative of the university. But a fine basketball coach? If Yankee Stadium is the “House that Ruth Built,” then the Georgetown basketball program is quite clearly the house that Thompson built. That, however, does not mean the current coach has a lifetime contract. Big-time college athletics are a business. To argue otherwise is delusional at best. In business, the buck stops at the top, and Thompson is being paid extremely well to produce results both on and off the court.
It pains me to say this, but I believe the on-court results speak for themselves and it is time to move in another direction. We need to re-energize both the student body and the alumni base and bring Georgetown basketball back to respectability. It is time for the administration to act or risk an ever-growing apathy among the students and the die-hard alumni who support both the program and Georgetown University.
Jeff Scharpf, Class of 1984
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