Lee A. Thompson
Lee A. Thompson
Team: Track & Field

Lee A. Thompson '71
Sport:
Track & Field
Year Inducted:
1985
Other Sports Played:
Soccer

The word “versatile” may be overused, but it isexactly the right word to describe record-setting runner Lee A.Thompson ’71 – along with “fast,”“unselfish,” “inspirational,” and“tireless.” As a member of Coach Ivan Fuqua’steams, Thompson was a three-time Heptagonal champion and the holderof three all-time Brown outdoor records, one of which still stands.At the Heps in 1970, he won the outdoor 440 in 48.3; in 1971 he wonthe 600-yard event in 1:11.5, and repeated his win in the 440, thistime setting the Brown record time of 47.2 that has yet to bebroken. The other two school records Thompson held were for the 220around a curve (21.4) and the mile relay (3:17.1). In his senioryear, Thompson was undefeated in the 600-yard run. A dual-meet withDartmouth in his senior year provided the perfect showcase forThompson’s versatility. Pacing the Bruins to a 95-59 victory.Thompson won the 440, the 220, and the 440-yard intermediate highhurdles. Now for the unselfish part: Thompson was the favorite towin the 440 in the New Englands. He’d never won a New Englandtitle, and it had become a personal goal. But at that meet, itappeared that Brown would have a chance at the team championship.To help score crucial points for the team, Thompson ran sevengrueling races – three 220’s, two 440’s, and tworelays. As a result, he was less than fresh for his specialty, andfinished second in the 440, a split-second behind the winner. Atthe track team’s postseason dinner that year, Thompsonreceived the Henry Henshaw Bulova Watch Award – and heartfeltpraise from his coaches. “Lee Thompson passed up a sure NewEngland title in the 440 last Saturday,” said Ivan Fuqua,“so we could pick up more points. He is a great inspirationto any athlete in any sport.” Assistant Coach Ed Flanagan waseven more lavish: “In forty years of coaching all kinds ofboys, including Olympic champions, Thompson is one of the mostoutstanding athletes and the finest individual I’ve ever beenassociated with.”

Thompson began his running career in the fifth grade inRiverside, Connecticut, when he starred at school field days. Hecontinued in the sport through high school, where he also took upsoccer. He played four years of soccer at Brown, mostly as aninside, where he was effective because of his exceptional speed. Hepursued an arduous academic program at Brown: a five year,A.B./Sc.B/ degree in sociology and engineering. When his athleticcareer at Brown ended, Thompson said he had only two regrets: thesoccer teams loss to Harvard in the NCAA playoffs in his senioryear, and the fact that his 47.2 time in the 440 just missed thecutoff time of 46.9 for the Nationals. Thompson’spostgraduate athletic career has centered around rugby, a sport hebegan playing while a student at Harvard Law School from 1974-1977.Today he plays for the Palo Alto XO Rugby Club when he’s notbusy with his duties as associate staff counsel at StanfordUniversity – and his more recent “job” as dad toPerry Lee Thompson, born to Lee and his wife Pamela lastMay.