Remarks on Meeting the Georgetown University Hoyas, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Champions

April 7, 1984

The President. Coach Thompson and members of the Hoyas, welcome to the White House, and congratulations on a magnificent job.

I know your victory Monday night represents not just a single effort, but is the result of countless hours of conditioning, training, and practicing by each of you individually, all of which is part of making a truly great team.

You're the first team from the northeast to win the NCAA championship in 30 years, and you have every reason to be proud, as I know you must be. You came close 2 years ago. Now, you've made it. And we're all happy for you and, I think, understand a little of how you all must feel.

I'd like to congratulate Pat Ewing, as tournament and Big East Conference Most Valuable Player. You had a great season, Pat, and you know you and all your teammates are going to remember this for the rest of your lives.

And, Coach, you not only put together and directed a fine team, but you've watched out in the long run for the interests, the true interests of these young men. I think they'll remember you for a long time, and they'll be most grateful as the years go by.

During your time at Georgetown in coaching, the overwhelming majority of your players have graduated, which is also something of a record in intercollegiate athletics in these days. But it also says something about the coach's priorities.

Now, I understand there's been some criticism, Coach Thompson, that maybe your coaching was a little too stringent or almost military. I wouldn't let that bother me at all. It's results that pay off and certainly this has been a result.

You've won the title. You've never let -- and this, I think, is vitally important, as much so as the title -- you have never let these young men forget that there is something more important for their being at Georgetown than basketball. And that isn't always true.

So, again, just a hearty ``well done'' from all of us. And I think all of us feel a great pride in what you've accomplished.

And now I'd like to -- well, Coach?

Coach Thompson. Mr. President, certainly we do appreciate you taking the time in your busy schedule to honor us. And I've got to say that that's got to be one of the highlights in these young men's lives, to have an opportunity to meet you.

And I'd just like to say if the worst thing that could ever be said about us is that we're military, I feel very honored. [Laughter]

And I do want to give you a little token so that you can remember our team, and I also have a shirt. It should have ``Hoya Paranoia'' on it, because that's what they called us all year. But I'd like to give you this shirt to make you our official member.

The President. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 1:13 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. Coach John Thompson presented the President with a shirt and a basketball that had been autographed by members of the team.