FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Ronny Thompson, an assistant coach at Georgetown and former four-time letterman for the Hoyas, has joined the basketball staff at Arkansas, head coach Stan Heath announced on Friday.
Thompson is the son of former GU head coach John Thompson.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience under his father and on Craig Esherick’s staff at Georgetown, Thompson has also worked with head coach Larry Brown and General Manager Billy King as director of scouting for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1996-98.
“It was a hard decision,” Heath said. “We had some very, very strong candidates and I don’t want to put Ronny in a certain category or limit his strengths to a certain area, but if you look at history with big men, Georgetown has ranked very high. That’s not all he brings to the table. He has great experience in college basketball and his background with Larry Brown and the 76ers made him even stronger.”
Thompson, who played for his father from 1989-92, earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1992 and went to work on Wall Street at Prudential Securities.
He went into coaching the following year as an assistant to Jerry Green at the University of Oregon. From 1994-96, he was an assistant at Loyola (Maryland) before going to the NBA.
Thompson said his interest in the Arkansas opening began with Heath.
“I was so excited after speaking with him,” Thompson said. “He’s down to earth, trustworthy and first-class. I have a newborn son, 11 months old, and Stan is the kind of guy I would want my son to play for.”
Thomspon joined his father’s staff in 1998-99 and remained on the staff when Esherick took over. The Hoyas were 15-16 in 1999, 19-15 in 2000, 25-8 in 2001, 19-11 in 2002 and 19-15 last year. The 2001 squad reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, knocking off the Razorbacks, 63-61, in the first round. Last year’s team reached the finals of the NIT while the 2000 club reached the second round of the NIT.
“I believe he will make our staff stronger and our fans will enjoy getting to know him,” Heath said. “He also brings with him a national recruiting base from the East Coast to the West Coast. He’s well-connected around the country.”
As a player at Georgetown, Thompson was a member of teams that went a combined 94-35, reached the Elite Eight once and the Sweet 16 twice. He saw action in 112 of 136 contests over his career.
“He will be involved with player development with more of an emphasis with our big guys,” Heath said. “He will have a lot of responsibility, but everything is equally divided. We do not have our coaches defined as a No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 assistant.”
Heath said the search for an assistant went as planned and was completed at a good time.
“With summer recruiting coming up, it was important to complete the staff,” he said. “We can place three of four coaches on the road, which means we can have someone here to handle on-campus responsibilities when we’re out recruiting.”