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Cornell's head basketball coach stepping down

Scott Thompson, head coach of the Cornell men's basketball team, announced his resignation from that position last Friday. Thompson fill an administrative position within the Department of Athletics and Physical Education at Cornell.

"Making the transition from coaching to administration has been a difficult decision, but it is the best one for me," Thompson told Cornell's Sports Information. "I want to thank our players, my staff, loyal alumni and friends for their support. My time at Cornell has been enjoyable and I look forward to helping Cornell athletics in a new capacity."

Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel also spoke with Cornell Sports Information about Thompson's departure.

"Scott has been a valuable member of our coaching staff and while I regret his decision to leave coaching, I understand it," Noel said.

Thompson announced in May that he'd been diagnosed with colon cancer. He underwent surgery last year and his chances for full recovery are good because of his early detection and treatment.

"I'm going to slow down my present schedule to focus on my health and I'm working with Andy Noel and my doctor on a schedule that's best for me," Thompson said at the time. "In the long term, I'm looking forward to a bright future for me and Cornell basketball."

Thompson took over the Big Red head job in 1996, after stops at Wichita State and Rice University, which included his being named Coach of the Year in the Southwestern Conference after guiding the Owls to a 16-14 finish and an NIT berth.

Thompson graduated from the University of Iowa in 1976 with a degree in political science, and he was also named to the All-Big 10 and Academic All-Big 10 teams.

Thompson was drafted by the NBA's Detroit Pistons, but spent three years as an assistant to Digger Phelps at Notre Dame. There, Thompson was a member of the Fighting Irish's 1978 Final Four and 1979 Elite Eight teams.

In 1980 Thompson returned to the University of Iowa as an assistant to his former coach, Lute Olson. Then, in 1983, Thompson followed Olson to Arizona, where he stayed until 1987, when he took the Rice job.

Thompson's overall record in his four years at the Cornell helm was 45-60, 22-34 Ivy League. The Big Red were 2-6 against Penn during Thompson's tenure.

-- Sebastian Stockman

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