Courtney Thompson: the Foster School’s “Dynamo of the Century”

Courtney Thompson (BA 2007) is an unstoppable force of nature. Always has been.

The valedictorian of Kentlake High School came to the University of Washington and led Husky Volleyball to three NCAA final fours and a national championship in 2005. The passionate setter became the most decorated student-athlete in Foster School history, earning All-America and Academic All-America honors three times and winning the NCAA’s 2005 Honda Award, which recognizes the nation’s most outstanding female athlete.

Thompson was subsequently inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame and became the first woman to have her jersey retired in UW’s Alaska Airlines Arena.

After graduating from Foster with honors, Thompson played professionally overseas and became a fixture on the USA national team, with which she won a gold medal at the 2014 World Championships, silver at the 2012 Olympics and bronze at the 2016 Olympics.

Thompson in action at the London Olympics. Photo by Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Thompson’s inspirational career and indomitable spirit are chronicled in the documentary “Court & Spark.”

And she used her outsized influence in the sport to co-create the Give It Back Foundation, in which youth camps, led by USA Volleyball stars, reinvest proceeds to local charitable organizations.

After wrapping her professional and international volleyball career, Thompson joined Compete to Create, the coaching and mindset training firm co-founded by Dr. Michael Gervais and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. She also has written extensively on determination and preparation for athletes from high school to the pros. In 2021, Thompson joined the coaching staff of Stanford women’s volleyball.

At the 2017 Business Leadership Celebration, Thompson was named the Foster School’s “Dynamo of the Century.”