Longtime Georgia Tech athletics administrator Jack Thompson has been accorded a fitting honor by the NCAA. Thompson was selected as a 2019 NCAA Inclusion Forum Trailblazer for his role in helping break the color barrier on Tech’s football team. Tech made the announcement Wednesday.
Hired in 1968 as the football team’s director of football recruiting, Thompson helped recruit Karl Barnes, who was the first African American football player at Tech to play in a varsity game. Barnes joined the team in 1969 as an invited walk-on. Thompson also recruited Eddie McAshan, who was the first African American football player to receive a scholarship, the first African American starter and the second African American quarterback to start for a major-college team in the Southeast.
They were two of several black players whom Thompson recruited to help integrate the team.
Thompson has been in administration in the Tech athletic department since 1977 and has primarily served in a development role. In 2018, Thompson shifted roles and is now special assistant to athletic director Todd Stansbury.
“Congratulations to our very own Jack Thompson on receiving this very deserving honor,” Stansbury said in a statement. “He’s a man who has worn a lot of hats and done many, many great things for student-athletes during his 50-plus years at Georgia Tech, but perhaps the most exceptional part of his legacy is the lives and the culture that he helped shape by being one of the earliest champions of inclusion in college athletics.”
Thompson was to be honored at Friday’s NCAA Inclusion Forum in Atlanta. Barnes and McAshan were to both join Thompson for the recognition.
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