Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Joe Thompson

Joe Thompson


  • Position: Halfback
  • School: Geneva, Pittsburgh
  • High School: Public Schools, Ireland\rPittsburgh, PA (Shady Side Academy)
  • Years: 1902-1906
  • Inducted: 1971
  • Place of Birth: County Down, Ireland
  • Date of Birth: Sep 26, 1871
  • Place of Death: Beaver Falls, PA
  • Date of Death: Feb 01, 1928

Member Biography

Joe Thompson was a strapping Irish lad of 18 when his parents came to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania. He was accustomed to hard work and dedication to the task, attributes which were to serve him well as he toiled his way through school and to greatness on the gridiron. Thompson began his career at Geneva College, moving on to Pitt for post-graduate work in law. That was in 1904, and Joe's efforts paid immediate dividends as he helped the Panthers log a 10-0-0 record which was the first undefeated season in Pitt history. The next year, Thompson took over captaincy of the team and began forming the leadership he was to further as the Pitt coach from 1908 to 1912. Under his direction, Pitt was 30-14-2. His 1910 squad finished with a perfect nine-game record and did not allow an opponent to cross its goal. After graduating from Pittsburgh's Law School, Thompson entered the military and fought in Mexico and World War I, returning a hero each time. His service in France during WWI earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor after he had suffered wounds and been gassed by enemy assault units. On the college gridiron and later on the field of battle, Thompson never wavered in his dedication to the task at hand. He lettered at Geneva 1902-03 and Pittsburgh 1904-06.