Cover image for Big man on campus : John Thompson and the Georgetown Hoyas
Big man on campus : John Thompson and the Georgetown Hoyas
Shapiro, Leonard, 1947-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H. Holt, [1991]

Physical Description:
310 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV884.T48 S53 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV884.T48 S53 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GV884.T48 S53 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson would probably get bad press even if he possessed the personality of Captain Kangaroo: he's physically intimidating, black, successful (professionally and financially), very outspoken, and, hence, an easy target. Shapiro, the Washington Post's sports editor, has done an admirable job attempting to reveal a bit of Thompson's essence. He reaches back into the past for impressions of Thompson's youth, his college days, his brief stay with the Boston Celtics, and his entry into coaching with Washington's St. Anthony's High School. When he was hired by Georgetown in the early 1970s, he took over a miserable program. He turned it around quickly and won the NCAA tournament in 1984. Thompson has a legion of admirers and an equal number of detractors. Shapiro interviews members of both camps for an evenhanded portrait of a man who--as do all his successful peers--has a huge ego. (Big-time college basketball is not a venue for the faint of heart.) Thompson is neither saint nor sinner, but he is never dull. Hats off to Shapiro for an outstanding effort. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thompson, the longtime basketball coach at Georgetown University, is a big man beyond his imposing size--610, 270 pounds. He hoisted himself out of a black Washington, D.C., ghetto and now, at age 49, sits at the front of a college-coaching bus once reserved for whites. This balanced, lucid biography, written without Thompson's cooperation, examines the chief Hoya and his program. Shapiro, sports editor of the Washington Post , covers the court: recruiting players for the great teams of the 1980s, charges of reverse discrimination, the paramilitary secrecy known as ``Hoya Paranoia.'' College athletics may be flawed, but Thompson tackled the system and won in grand style. This is a sports book that, like its subject, stands above the crowd. Photos not seen by PW. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

YA-- For a man who values his privacy above all else, this controversial coach is in the newspapers often. He is black, he is a professional, he is a success, he has strong opinions. He is a man you either love or hate, and Shapiro has interviewed over 250 people who feel one way or the other about John Thompson. The result is an evenhanded portrait of a complex personality. This book is more than a biography; it's also a detailed chronicling of an ineffective basketball program that Thompson turned into a great one. Along the way, he gave minority athletes a chance at an education at one of the most prestigious universities in the U. S. Out of the 63 players he has recruited for his teams, 61 have graduated. An informative and enlightening look at an impressive coach and educator.-- Pat Royal, Crossland High School, Camp Springs, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.