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05/08/2021 04:01 AM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Joseph H Thompson



Session Position District Party
1913-1914 47 Republican
1915-1916 47 Republican
 Counties   Beaver, Lawrence


1871 - 1928

Of Patterson Heights, Beaver Falls. Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Cross. Married Violet Edith Smeegh, September 26, 1908. Joseph "Colonel Joe" Henry Thompson; born Kilkeeel, County Down, Ireland, Sept. 26, 1871; was a highly decorated World War I veteran, recipient of the Medal of Honor, lawyer, Pennsylvania state legislator, head football coach of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, and College Football Hall of Fame inductee. Thompson came to the United States from Ireland in 1898 at the age of 18 and entered Geneva College that year. He immediately became a basketball star and also participated in gymnastics and wrestling, but did not go out for football until 1900. He served as Geneva’s player-coach for three years, with his football teams compiling a 27-2-3 record. He received two bachelors degrees, one from Geneva College, the other form the University of Pittsburgh. Read law and was admitted to the Beaver and Allegheny County Bars. General Counsel to Clarion, Lawrence, and Connoquenessing Hydro-Electric Power companies. Col. Thompson suffered four wounds and was gassed on one occasion. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor, and the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre with palm; commander of the Department of Pennsylvania, 1921-1922. Thompson continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh, then called the Western University of Pennsylvania, where he played football from 1904 and 1906, during which time the Panthers compiled a 26-6 record. He captained the Pitt football team to its first perfect season in 1904 when the Panthers won all ten games and surrendered only one touchdown. Thompson graduated from Pitt in 1905 and continued on with post-graduate work in the School of Law completing his law degree. While at Pitt he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Following graduation from Pitt's Law School, Thompson assumed the head coaching position at Pitt from 1908 to 1912 during which period he led Pitt to a 30-14-2 record. He was responsible for helping to facilitate the implementation of the first known use of numbers on the uniforms of football players during his coaching years at Pitt. The highlight of his coaching tenure was the 1910 season in which Pitt went undefeated and unscored upon and was considered by many consider to be that season's National Champion While compiling its 9-0 record, Pitt outscored its opponents 282-0. During this time, he attended Pitt's School of Law, graduating in 1909 and was admitted to the bar. While at Pitt, Thompson also coached the track and field team beginning in 1904. At various points, he also coached football at Pittsburgh High School and Carnegie Tech and was Rochester High School’s first football coach. Died 1928.