As a collegian at Washington State in Pullman, Thompson set numerous school, Pac-10 and NCAA records. In the second game of 1976, he took over on offense after senior starter John Hopkins was injured making a tackle in the second quarter at Minnesota.
As a senior in 1978, he finished ninth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, and concluded his college career as the most prolific passer in NCAA history with 7,818 passing yards. Thompson set Pac-10 records for attempts, completions, and TD passes. He was all-conference three times and either first-team, second-team, or honorable mention All-American three times.
He is one of only two players in school history to have his number retired (with Pro Football Hall of FamerMel Hein). Thompson wore No. 14 and graduated from Evergreen High School in 1974, south of Seattle.
After his football career, Thompson settled in Seattle and became a mortgage banker, as well as a volunteer quarterbacks coach at Ballard High School. His son Tony, a tight end, followed in his dad's footsteps in suiting up at Washington State, and a nephew, Tavita Pritchard, was a quarterback at Stanford University.
List of quarterbacks of non-white or non-black descent