Inside Athletics

John Thompson
John Thompson
Year Inducted: 2017
Area of Distinction: Men's Basketball
Graduation Year: N/A

With over 20 years of service to the Battling Bishops as both head men's basketball coach and Director of Athletics, John Thompson was inducted into the N.C. Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017. The all-time winningest coach in men's basketball history, he had compiled over 300 victories and six USA South Championships at the time of his induction.

Thompson joined N.C. Wesleyan as head basketball coach in 1995-1996, and it did not take him long to establish the Bishops as a yearly contender in the USA South (formerly Dixie). His first conference title came during the 1999-2000 season when he led the Bishops to the league's regular season crown, earning him the first of four Coach of the Year awards. Thompson went on to capture his first USA South Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in 2002, and the Durham, N.C. native later captured back-to-back regular season titles in 2010 and 2011 to secure his second and third Coach of the Year honors. The 2010-2011 season also saw the Bishops earn the program's fourth tournament crown to once again secure an NCAA bid. Just prior to his Hall of Fame selection, the 2015-2016 season saw the veteran coach garner his fourth Coach of the Year honor after guiding Wesleyan to the league title with a 20-7 record.

One of Thompson's most noteworthy coaching achievements came in the summer of 2012 when he was selected to be a court coach for USA Basketball's Junior National Team. Thompson joined an elite group of collegiate coaches at the U18 training camp, which was held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs.

Additionally, Thompson served as Vice President and Director of Athletics for 20 years. His leadership has seen him guide Wesleyan's athletics staff to two USA South Men's Presidents Cups, over 50 USA South regular season and/or tournament titles, 26 NCAA tournament berths, and numerous All-American, All-Region, and All-Conference accolades. In this time, Wesleyan's baseball team captured the 1999 National Championship, while other team accomplishments include an Elite-8 appearance for men's tennis in 2010 and a pair of Sweet-16 showings for men's soccer. Other highlights of Thompson's tutelage include the official namings of Scalf and Edge Fields, presiding over the expansion of Everett Gym to the include the Taylor Center, and overseeing the addition of football and women's lacrosse, which prompted the opening of the Vernon T. Bradley, Jr. Fieldhouse.

Thompson wears many other hats at Wesleyan and in the community. He held the position of President of the USA South from 2001-2005 and presently serves as chairman of the USA South Basketball Coaches Committee, a position he has held since 1999. Currently a member of the NABC Congress, Coach Thompson also served a four-year appointment to the NCAA Men's Basketball Rules Committee from 2007 to 2011.

On campus, Thompson has assisted a variety of committees over the past 22 years and was instrumental in coordinating the First Annual Shelton Leadership Challenge on campus, a highly-competitive event named for General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Coach Thompson also created and implemented WAAL (Wesleyan Academy of Athletic Leadership), a program designed to aid Bishop student-athletes in the development leadership skills. For the past seven years, he has been given oversight of all campus leadership programming.