William F. “Buck” Thompson ‘62 joins his legendary father, William M. Thompson ‘35, in Peddie’s prestigious Sports Hall of Fame.
A star was truly born when the agile sophomore started at center forward on the 1959 team that finished at 9-3-3 and tied for the state championship. Coach Ozzie Rand’s decision to blend the ball handling skills of Thompson with a veteran starting line-up led to Buck’s becoming a three-year fixture at the key center forward position,, and, in his senior year, both captaining the team and winning the Evans Hicks Award as the school’s outstanding soccer player. All the while, he was developing the confidence and experience to succeed at the next level in soccer at the United States Naval Academy.
On December 6, 1964 Navy captured the NCAA soccer championship with a stunning 1-0 triumph over Michigan State. Several newspapers carried the headline, “One Perfect Play Gives Navy NCAA Soccer Title.” The perfectly executed play late in the game referred to Thompson’s spectacular draw between two Michigan defenders to a darting Navy forward who slammed the ball behind the Spartan goalie. This gave the Middies their only unblemished season, a 15–0 record, and their only NCAA soccer crown. Buck was an integral member of one of the most dominant teams in NCAA history. During his three varsity seasons (freshmen were ineligible to play varsity), Navy amassed a record of 39–2–1.
Buck went on to distinguish himself in his service to our country. His thirty years in the Marine Corps, culminating in eight years as a Colonel, included serving as Combat Engineer Platoon leader and Company Commander in Vietnam from 1967–68. During that period, he received several Meritorious Medals and Citations for Heroism.
We salute William F. Thompson who holds steadfastly to the high ideals of courage, integrity, and dedication. Buck is most grateful for the support of his wife Sandy and his three children, Kim, Shelby, and Christopher, and — of course, Mom and Pop.