Milbank alumnus George Thompson was inducted into the North Dakota State University Bison Athletic Hall of Fame yesterday, October 9, in its 44th annual induction ceremony. A total of 269 athletes have been enshrined.
The induction took place at the Holiday Inn in Fargo, ND. The group was also recognized during halftime of NDSU’s homecoming football game today, against Northern Iowa.
Thompson wrestled for the Bison from 1994 through 1998 at the 126 and 134 pound weight classes. He captured a NCAA Division II national champion title at 134 pounds for the Bison in 1997 under Hall of Fame coach Bucky Maughan. He was the runner-up at 126 pounds in 1995, sixth at 134 pounds in 1996 and third at 134 in 1998.
Over the course of his career, he complied a 99-35 record, including 34-9 in duals and 17 pins. In 1994-95 he went 21-8 overall with a 9-1 record in duals, which included a pair of pins. He finished 30-11 in 1995-96 with a 9-2 dual record and four pins. During 1996-97, Thompson went 20-7 overall (8-3 in duals with six pins), and was 28-9 in 1997-98 with an 8-3 dual record and five pins.
He accumulated other accolades throughout his collegiate career. He was a four-time NCAA Division II All-American and a member of the Bison’s 1998 national championship team. He was a North Central Conference champion in 1997 along with the Bison’s team conference championships in 1995 and 1998. In 1998, Thompson was selected to the NCAA Division II Wrestling All-Academic team and was just one of four NDSU wrestlers to received an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.
Following graduation with honors from NDSU in 1998, Thompson went to the University of Northern Colorado and earned his master’s degree in sport administration. Alongside then UNC head coach and current NDSU senior associate AD for development Jack Maughan, he served as the top wrestling assistant coach at Northern Colorado for seven years. Thompson coached several All-Americans and helped guide the Bears’ program through their transition from Division II to Division I classification. Thompson also co-founded the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament (one of the largest high school sanctioned tournaments in the country) in 1999 and served as tournament director through 2014.
Thompson collected several awards throughout his high school days at MHS. He won his first individual South Dakota state title as a freshman on Milbank’s 1990 state championship team. That was only after Milbank’s head coach, Bob Hirsch, convinced Thompson to wrestle instead of playing basketball.
Other high school accomplishments included earning a pair of individual conference titles, four individual region titles, a State A individual runner-up finish, and three State A individual titles. Over that span, the Bulldogs won four conference team championships, had four top-six State A team finishes, including the 1990 State A team championship and 1993 team runner-up finish. He earned four varsity letters, was elected team captain twice and graduated with honors from MHS. He was also inducted into the South Dakota Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014.
Currently, Thompson is the Director of Operations for Colorado Orthotic and Prosthetic Services and resides in Greeley, Colo., with his two children, daughter Leila and son Chayse.