John Ashworth “Cat” Thompson (1906-1990)
John Ashworth Thompson was born in St. George, Utah, but lived in LaVerkin, Utah. He gained his first recognition as a member of the Dixie High consolation winners in the National High School Tournament in Chicago, Ill. The first game of the tournament was the first time he had ever played indoors on a wood floor. He got the name “Cat” from his quickness in stealing the ball from opponents. After attending Dixie College in 1925-26, he went on to play at Montana State University, where he was named to the all-America team all four years and College Player of the Year in 1929. He also helped lead the Bobcats to their only national championship.After his graduation, “Cat” played semi-pro ball in California for a year, then coached high school basketball in Montana and Idaho. He was enshrined in the Helms Athletic Hall of Fame and was named “Best Player of the First Half Century.” He was one of the first players inducted into the Naismith Basketball Half of Fame in 1962. He and his wife, the former Lola Dayley, are the parents of two sons and one daughter.