Thoughts on Roy “Spaceman” Thompson, former Track and Field coach at N.C. A&T

It seems like N.C. A&T has really turned on and taken a heavy stance against, what would now be their former Track and Field coach, Roy “Spaceman” Thompson…I am aware of the death of the young runner from Raleigh, and some irregularities in the way Coach Thompson ran his program, but look at his term of service to the University and the community, 26 years……..

Coach Roy “Spaceman” Thompson created a track and field environment in the city of Greensboro and I don’t think he should be forced to go out like this, with a young man’s death, being his lasting legacy……Any thoughts on this one?????

Look at all the good this man has done in and around the community……

Questions we need to look at:

Do all of the colleges have medical attendees at all of their practices……How many unorganized workouts have there been at various locations over the years????? What about all the summer programs that Coach Thompson has helped lead over the years????? As he walks away on December 1, he is being made out to be a crimminal and the responsiblity of the death that occurred, is being placed firmly on his shoulders, for some reason that we can not understand…..

What others are saying:

“We’re sitting on the sidelines wondering what this might mean,” said Kim Strable, director of the Greensboro Sports Commission. He said he would like A&T to continue hosting track meets, which can bring thousands of athletes and their families to the city for competition.

“If he’s retiring Dec. 1, I see that means that he won’t coach the track season,” Strable said.

“That’s a sad ending to his tenure there.”

Henri Fourrier, president of the Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, credited Thompson for helping build the city’s reputation as a hotbed for running.

“Greensboro is now in that mix,” Fourrier said. “Eugene, Ore., and Boston used to be a destination.”

Lonnie Phifer, one of his fellow coaches on the Greensboro Champions, a youth track team Thompson helped form, said that he was shocked by the announcement of Thompson’s retirement.

“He designed the track, he did everything for this school,” Phifer said. “It’s sad to see everything come to a halt like this.”

Phifer, who said he’s known Thompson for 30 years, offered thoughts on Jospin Milandu’s death and the A&T reaction.

“It just seemed like everyone just pointed fingers when it was really the university’s fault, not the track team’s fault,” he said.

Above comments from


  1. Roy did so much for the sport here in our area.
    I know what happened to that student/athlete bothers him greatly.
    I do hope he is remembered more for what he accomplished in both his development of athletes and his making the Belk Track complex at A&T happen than for the unfortunate incident a short time ago. I have known Roy for 30 years and trust me he is a good person.

  2. Coach Thompson was a good coach and he did a very good job with the team at A&T. He deserves better than this.

  3. It would be a shame if North Carolina A&T University (“A&T”) turned it’s back on Roy “Space” Thompson. Space as we affectionately called him, poured his soul into A&T’s track program. He always invisioned having a top notch program at the University. At the time I attended, we did not have a long jump pit but I was able to compete and win amongst my peers at the Penn Relays and other meets, and qualified for the NCAA’s under Space’s guidance. After four years at the university, I graduated from A&T with a Bachelors degree in accounting. Today I am a praticing Certified Public Accountant in the State of Florida. Space not only embraced us for our athletic ability but was also proud of us for our academic achievements. As a coach, he probably has one of the highest graduation rates for student athletes.

    The death of the young athlete is not to be minimized, but the person that they are trying to demonized would never do anything to jepordized A&T’s track program. There is too much love and history for Space when it comes to A&T’s track.

    I believe if certain policies and procedures were in place at the time, those policies would have been followed by Space if appropiately communicated.

  4. Coach Space has done so much for the youth of Greensboro!! As a 41 year old, I can remember when I myself ran for Coach Space. He is a piller in this community and I thank him for giving me an outlet when my only other alternative was the streets. I graduated from A&T and must admit that the university not backing him is no surprise to me. I would love to say this is a first, but its not!!! I combat this by filing all alumni donation request in file 13. Earlier this year as my son prepared for his combine season I put him on Coach Spaces AAU track squad. He couldnt seem to get his 40 time down and after ONE workout with Coach he went from a 4.6 to a 4.41 forty. The man in incredible. The exposure he has brought to A&T in the track areana is incredible!!!! He has been a mainstay while all other sports have gone up and down. I know he will be successful in whatever he does next, because he’s paid so much forward and he has helped so MANY young people. God Speed Coach Space!!!

  5. As a former MEAC Cross Country Champion and North Carolins A&T track runner, I only have memories of a man and a coach that took great care in making sure that his athletes had an open line of communication. If we had any issues with our heath, Coach Thompson was always quick to respond. It is sad that the University wasn’t quick to respond when he was in need of support. Not discounting the life of the young man by any means , this is something that will weigh heavy on ” Spaceman’s” mind for the rest of his life. This tragedy should bring about reform in the way things are carried out, not the falling of a man that stood tall for the University and the track community for years. This Man’s life has redeeming value, his legacy will live on inspite of this unfortunate blot that could have happen to anyone. God Bless you Coach Thompson; this 45 year old man’s life was made better by your touch.

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