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Jim Boeheim Reacts To Death Of Former Rival John Thompson

Jim Boeheim speaking to the media.

SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 23: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange speaks with the media following the game against the Duke Blue Devils at the Carrier Dome on February 23, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. Duke defeated Syracuse 75-65. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

Following the passing of legendary Georgetown head coach John Thompson, many of his former rivals have come out to express their sympathies. The latest to offer thoughts and prayers to Big John's family is Jim Boeheim.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, the Syracuse head coach offered condolences to Thompson's family. He praised him as a friend and called the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry "the toughest" of the early Big East days. Boeheim thought fondly of those games and concluded by calling Thompson "one of a kind."

"We lost a great basketball coach and a great person with the passing of my friend John Thompson," Boeheim wrote. "He was a leader in the game and in life. John empowered all coaches but especially Black coaches and Black players. Syracuse and Georgetown was the toughest rivalry for about 10-15 years during the early BIG EAST days. There was nothing quite like it. Many of my fondest coaching memories are from Georgetown games, coaching against John – in the Dome, at Georgetown and at MSG."

Few coaches faced off against the late-great Georgetown head coach as often as Jim Boeheim. They became instant rivals upon their respective entries into the Big East in 1979.

Between 1979 and 1999, Syracuse and Georgetown boasted one of the best rivalries in the Big East. The two combined to win more than 20 Big East regular season and tournament titles.

Thompson and the Hoyas largely dominated Boeheim and the Orange in the 1980s. They went 19-8 from their Big East debut through the 1989 Big East Tournament.

But Boeheim and the Orange reversed their fortunes in the 1990s, going 14-4 against Thompson between 1990 and their final meeting in 1998.

Though they never met in the NCAA Tournament, the two faced off in the Big East Tournament nine times. Thompson usually got the better of Boeheim, going 6-3 against the Orange in the tournament.

It's been a long time since Syracuse-Georgetown had the same energy of the 80s and 90s.

But we'll always look back on those early rivalry games fondly.