Last Updated: Tue Mar 14, 2023 - 2:13PM
With more than 20 years of experience coaching at the college level, John Thompson has displayed his ability to develop young men into quality football players. A few years ago, however, Thompson sought to share his expertise with a much younger group, as he shifted to coaching flag football for grades 1-7 with the Westmoreland Saints. Now, Thompson has settled on a middle ground, as he was hired as the new head coach for Greensburg Central Catholic over a week ago.
“It was awesome,” Thompson reacted after he was approved by the school board on March 6th. “It’s definitely an honor to be part of the school. My in-laws all went to school there.”
Thompson, referred to as JT, has an extensive coaching resume that includes stints at Marist College, Saint Francis University, Sacred Heart University, Mercyhurst University, Saint Vincent College, and most recently, Gannon University. With the Golden Knights, he served as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach through the 2017 campaign.
“I worked with some great head coaches in my time, and learning not just the Xs and Os, but how you treat people and how you organize a program, inside and out,” Thompson said of his experience collegiately.
When he moved to Greensburg, though, he sought a drastically different opportunity.
“I always said when I was coaching college football if I ever got out, I wanted to work with the youth. I think it’s important teaching them to love the game,” said Thompson of his time with the Saints. “God does have a plan, and things happen for a reason.”
Thompson inherits a Greensburg Central Catholic program that achieved significant success during the fall. Greensburg Central Catholic went 8-2 during the regular campaign, including winning the Class 1A Eastern Conference with a perfect mark of 6-0. Seeded third in the WPIAL playoffs, though, the Centurions were upset by Rochester in the first round.
Subsequently, Marko Thomas stepped down after two seasons at the helm.
“We want to build off of what they were able to do last year,” Thompson noted.
Thompson, a four-year letterwinner during his playing career at Marist, detailed that he will fit the system to the strengths of his players, but one crucial aspect will always remain a staple of his tenure.
“I’m a big technique and fundamental guy. It’s going to be on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We’re going to make sure we’re a fundamentally sound program.”
While he eyes success in the short-term, Thompson also hopes that his connections with the Saints will pay dividends for GCC for years to come.
“There’s a lot of good, young athletes coming up through the system, so hopefully they make their way into our program,” he detailed.