Inducted in 2003
Ted Thompson was born in Cameron, Wisconsin, in 1933. He attended Cameron High School, where he played fullback and linebacker for the Comets. In the four years he played, the Comets had two undefeated seasons and lost a total of four games. He also lettered in basketball and baseball. He graduated in 1951.
Thompson attended St. Olaf College from 1951-54. He was an All-Conference player for two years at tackle and linebacker positions. Ted graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 1960.
Although Ted Thompson enjoyed a diversified coaching career, his coaching legacy will forever be connected with the Wishbone offense. Thompson was the first coach to bring the Wishbone to Wisconsin high school football. Decades later, he climaxed his career assisting UW-River Falls which is also known for success with the Wishbone.
In fifteen years as a high school head coach, Thompson compiled a 91-32-2 record. Four times his teams completed undefeated seasons and four times his teams suffered only one loss. Thompson earned 1975 AP Wisconsin High School Coach of the Year honors when his Ashland High School team steamrolled all nine opponents the year before the WIAA initiated football playoffs. Another highlight of his high school coaching career was when he was chosen as an assistant coach in 1977 in the first-ever modern era Shrine High School All-Star football game.
In 1979, Thompson changed to the college ranks, becoming the defensive coordinator at UW-River Falls. That season, the Falcons won the Wisconsin State University Conference and played its first-ever post-season playoff game. During ten years at UWRF, Thompson was part of five conference championship teams, first as the defensive coordinator, then later as the offensive coordinator for teams which several times broke their own NCAA Division ill team rushing records.
In 1992, Thompson became the head coach at UW-Superior. His head-coaching peers in the conference recognized the incredible improvement of the UW-Superior team by awarding Thompson a special post-season honor.
It may seem as though Thompson has coached everywhere, but actually his coaching resume began in 1962, the year he and wife Jane were married, as an assistant at Antigo where daughter Marti was born. In 1964, he got his first head-coaching job at Chilton where son Tim was born. The next stops were Algoma, Midwestern College (in Denison, IA), Port Washington, Omro, Ashland, Wisconsin Rapids, and back to Ashland. State university positions then included positions at UW-River Falls, UW-Oshkosh, and UW-Superior.
High school and college football people in all corners of Wisconsin and of multiple generations recognize Teddy as both friend and as a coaching legend. His knowledge of the game with the ability to teach it in a simple way is probably only second to his entertaining personality and love for his friends he established through football.
Tag(s): Hall of Fame