Chris Thompson, who served as an assistant coach and head coach to much acclaim at several schools within the San Diego Section, died at the age of 52 on Sept. 4.
His passing caught the greater San Diego County high school football community somewhat by surprise, though it was known he had been battling bone cancer.
Thompson was highly regarded as an assistant coach and served as a mentor as a head coach.
He led Bonita Vista to its first CIF championship in 50 years in 2015 as the Barons won the Division III title and advanced to the Division IV-AA state championship game, finishing runner-up in the rain and mud in Hanford.
Thompson was a member of Helix’s 2017 CIF Open Division championship team that went on to claim the SoCal regional Division 1AA title en route to posting a runner-up finish in the state championship game. The Highlanders finished 13-2 on the year.
“Coach Thompy was a huge asset to our program and to me personally as a head coach,” Helix sideline boss Robbie Owens said. “He came to us after stepping down at Bonita Vista High School and just prior to getting his dream job at Mira Mesa as the head coach. He brought tremendous coaching expertise that still impacts our program on offense and special teams today.
“I appreciated having him on our staff, knowing he had the knowledge of being a head coach and spoke honestly and from the heart with me as a head coach. I respected him as a coach, but even more as a person. We still spoke often and have either scrimmaged or played one another since the 2016 season. He will be missed and truly never forgotten. It was an honor to have coached alongside him, coached against him and to be his friend.”
Current Grossmont head coach Chris Holmes served with Thompson as an assistant coach at Helix.
“Coach Thompson was a fun guy to be around and had an absolutely brilliant football mind,” Holmes said. “He genuinely cared about the people around him, especially his players.”
The Foothillers had the opportunity to play at Mira Mesa in a non-league game on Sept. 24 as the Marauders honored their former coach. Mira Mesa won 13-7.
“It was an electric atmosphere that night,” Holmes said. “It was a very moving tribute before the game to recognize the beautiful person Coach Thompson was. It was clear that the Marauders played with passion and fire to honor their late coach.”