Frank Thompson was everything athletics when he came to NC State in 1909 after a year at Davidson College. He captained the Wolfpack’s baseball team for two years before he was named its coach. He also captained the football team.
So it might seem odd that on this day in 1923, the basketball facility on campus was named Thompson Gymnasium in honor of him. But the honor saluted more than just Thompson’s athletic prowess.
The son of Judge John W. Thompson, Frank felt the patriotic call to serve his country. According to Hardy D. Berry’s Place Names on the Campus of North Carolina State University, Frank was too old to be drafted for service in World War I. But he enlisted anyway in the Fifth Division’s 15th machine gun battalion and soon became a first lieutenant serving in France.
Thompson was killed in action along the German lines when his division was attacked at Regnieville. “The news of his death reached his father in the Panama Canal Zone where he was serving as a judge by appointment of President Woodrow Wilson,” writes Berry.
Reynolds Coliseum opened in 1949, and Thompson Gym became Thompson Theatre in 1963 after renovations. In 2009, the building was renamed Frank Thompson Hall, which houses the Crafts Center and University Theatre, the home for the dramatic arts at NC State.