A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 28 at Bucknell's Rooke Chapel. A reception will follow the service.

Tommy ThompsonLEWISBURG, Pa. – Thomas A. “Tommy” Thompson, a member of the Bucknell Class of 1960 who represented Bison Athletics for more than 40 years as a student-athlete and coach, passed away Sunday evening at the age of 78. An outstanding basketball and baseball player during his undergraduate days, Thompson later served as head coach of four different sports at Bucknell over a period of more than 30 years.

Thompson was involved in more athletic contests than any individual in Bucknell history. He was a part of more than 1,000 victories as a player, assistant coach (basketball) and head coach (golf, baseball, tennis, junior varsity and freshman basketball) at Bucknell.

“Tommy Thompson is a true Bucknell legend, and he will be deeply missed,” said director of athletics and recreation John Hardt. “He was always positive and upbeat, and even in his retirement he kept a genuine interest in Bison Athletics and was a regular presence at events and around the department for many years. Tommy touched so many lives during his four-plus decades at Bucknell. The entire Bucknell community was the beneficiary of his years of leadership, dedication and friendship.”

A native of Kane, Pennsylvania, Thompson was a three-year starter and team captain for the Bison basketball team. He led the team in scoring as a senior with an average of 16.3 points per game, and he graduated with 700 points (10.4 ppg). Today, the men's basketball team's Thomas A. Thompson Award for “spirit, intensity and outstanding defensive play” is named in his honor.

Thompson was also a terrific baseball player at Bucknell, and he was named the most outstanding athlete in the Class of 1960. As a senior, he produced a .316 batting average, and on the pitching mound he compiled a 3.60 earned-run average with 50 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched. After graduation, Thompson pitched professionally for three years in the Detroit Tigers organization.

After retiring from professional baseball, Thompson returned to Bucknell in February 1964 as a teaching associate in the department of physical education. A year later, he was named head coach of the freshman basketball team, launching a remarkable coaching career that spanned four sports and 36 years.

Tommy ThompsonWhile serving as head coach of the freshman team, and later the junior varsity squad, Thompson was also a longtime varsity assistant, working alongside head coaches Don Smith, Jim Valvano and Charlie Woollum. He was part of Bucknell's first two NCAA Tournament teams in 1987 and 1989.

Thompson spent one season as head men's tennis coach, leading the team to a 9-3 record in 1966. Thompson then took over as head baseball coach in 1967, and soon after, he piloted the Bison to one of the most dramatic turnarounds in school history. After an 0-15 season in 1968, his 1969 squad finished 15-4 and captured the Middle Atlantic Conference championship.

After 15 years as head baseball coach, Thompson handed the reins to assistant coach and future Hall-of-Famer Gene Depew following the 1981 season. Thompson shifted his attention to the Bison men's golf program, where he would spend the next 20 years as head coach. Over that span, he guided the team to a 113-27 dual-match record to go along with seven tournament titles. He was named Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2000.

Thompson was inducted into the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986. His all-time record in athletic events as a player, head coach and assistant coach was 1003-757-1. As a head coach in baseball, golf, tennis, and freshman/JV basketball, he was 518-343-1.

Thompson is survived by Robynn, his wife of 38 years, along with one daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Aaron Bolig, of Shamokin Dam, Pa.; one son and daughter-in-law, Todd and Jamie Thompson, of Fairport, N.Y.; three grandsons, Gavin and Brennan Bolig, and Jackson Thompson; one granddaughter, Taylor Bolig; one brother and sister-in-law, James and Joanne Thompson, of Emporium, Pa.; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 28 at Bucknell's Rooke Chapel. A reception will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Tommy's memory may be made to either the Bucknell baseball, basketball or golf programs, in care of the Bison Club, One Dent Drive, Lewisburg, PA 17837, or Christ's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 100 S. Third St., Lewisburg, PA 17837.