John Thurston

John Thurston (born April 17, 1948)

Teams coached: FDU-Florham Devils, James Madison Dukes, Wingate Bulldogs
FDU-Florham record^: 39-39 (.500)
James Madison record: 31-44 (.413)
Wingate record^: 95-149 (.389)
Overall record^: 165-232 (.416)

Career Accomplishments:

  • NCAA National Championships:  0
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances:  0
  • NIT Championships:  0
  • NIT Appearances:  1  (1987)
  • NEC Women’s Tournament Champion:  1  (2015)
  • Florida Sun (NAIA) Women’s Regular Season Champion:  2  (2007, 2008)
  • NCAA Division I Women’s Tournament Appearances:  1  (2015)
  • NAIA Women’s Tournament Appearances:  1  (2008)


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

2012-2018 St. Francis Brooklyn (women’s HC)
2010-2012 St. Francis Brooklyn (women’s asst)
2008-2010 Fordham (women’s asst)
2006-2008 Northwood (women’s HC)
2003-2006 UNC Wilmington (women’s asst)
1988-1997 Wingate
1985-1988 James Madison
1975-1985 James Madison (asst)
1972-1975 FDU-Florham
1971-1972 FDU-Florham (asst)

John Thurston Facts

  • John Thurston
  • Born April 17, 1948
  • Hometown: The Bronx, New York
  • Alma Mater: Seton Hall University (BA, 1970)
  • Graduated from Archbishop Molloy HS in Queens, NY and then played at Seton Hall for head coach Richard “Richie” Regan
    • Also played baseball in high school and college and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1966 MLB Amateur Draft
  • Started his coaching career at D-III Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham; after just one year as an assistant under Paul Lizzo, Thurston was elevated to head coach of the Devils at just 24 years old
    • Went 39-39 in three years at the helm, improving the teams win total each year from 9-15 in year one to 18-10 in year three
  • Hired by James Madison head coach Lou Campanelli to be an assistant coach with the Dukes in 1975
    • Worked under Campanelli for ten seasons, during which time he was part of three-straight NCAA Tournaments (1981-83)
  • Elevated to head coach in 1985 and led the JMU program for three years, going 31-44 over that tenure
    • His second year (1986-87) was his best, winning 20 games, reaching the NIT and being named CAA COY
  • After parting ways with JMU in 1988, Thurston became the head coach at Division II Wingate University (NC)
    • Was 95-149 overall in nine seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs’ program
  • Spent the rest of coaching career in women’s college basketball, starting with an assistant stint at UNC Wilmington under Ann Hancock
  • Went 41-21 in two seasons as the head coach at Northwood (now Keiser) (FL), winning the Florida Sun title both years
    • Named Florida Sun COY in 2008 after winning 23 games and reaching the NAIA Women’s Tournament
  • Next spent two years each assisting Cathy Andruzzi at Fordham and Brenda Milano at St. Francis Brooklyn
  • Became the head women’s coach at St. Francis in 2012 and led the Terriers to a 73-110 overall record in six seasons at the helm
    • Best year was 2014-15, when the team went 15-19 but won the NEC Tournament to get their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid
    • Retired from coaching in 2018 with an overall women’s head coaching record of 114-131 (.465)

John Thurston Coaching Tree

  • Tom McCorry (James Madison)


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the men’s Division I, Division II and Division III levels only