Thomas serves as Oregon’s associate head coach for men’s cross country and distance track and field. After 17 years coaching at Virginia Tech, Thomas joined Oregon in 2021.
Thomas introduced their Saf-T-Liner transit-style school bus models in 1991 with front engine designs. Thomas Vista and WestCoastER models competed directly against Blue Bird TC/2000s and Ward Senators for sale on school campuses.
Early Life and Education
Many studies have demonstrated a strong and lasting connection between early life conditions and adult outcomes, such as health, education, employment and measures of socio-economic status. Of particular relevance here is parenting and child care services.
Thomas was raised in Winthrop, Minnesota. While attending college as a corporate fitness instructor, his true calling lay in coaching high school football games in Aplington-Parkersburg (population approximately 3,000). Over his 34-year career as an Aplington-Parkersburg head coach he won 292 high school games and two state titles!
He began his coaching career at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia (1992-94) before transitioning to Blacksburg High for track and cross country coaching from 1994-95. While at Blacksburg he also trained collegiate athletes, including NCAA Division II national champions Nicola McClain and David Lloyd who won 400-meter hurdle national titles during that time.
Thomas has guided some of the top college programs, including Clemson, Georgia Tech and 2008 College World Series participant Arizona State. Additionally, he has mentored top major leaguers Aaron Hill and Ryan Theriot.
Thomas made an impactful mark as an outstanding prep player at Chicago’s Simeon High School and was honored as Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, joining Jabari Parker and Derrick Rose among his alumni list.
He has led many student-athletes to NCAA All-America honors. Most notably, Vincent Ciattei won both indoor 1500 meters and mile events and Rachel Pocratsky finished second place in outdoor distance medley at 2018 NCAA Championships under his guidance. Additionally, he holds master endorsement through USTFCCCA and is widely-sought clinician worldwide.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas served as field events coach at Mississippi State, leading athletes to set 39 top-10 marks for school records and two All-American lists while simultaneously attaining six individual conference championships.
She helped Rhiannon Johns qualify for the NCAA final in the 5,000 meters and earn first-team All-American honors, and Sedeekie Edie, Michelle Cumberbatch, Kizan David, Renea Ambersley and Jonelle Campbell earn Google Cloud/CoSIDA Academic All-American first team selections.
Off the field, Thomas managed donor and alumni relations that resulted in improvements at Rockwell Family Baseball Field including upgrading dugouts and home plate area as well as laser grading of the infield. She coached multiple Summit League honorees both singles and doubles while being instrumental in Hanna Green winning three ACC Championships for indoor meets.
Thomas is an acclaimed coach trainer who is known for leading clinics throughout North America, England, Australia and Europe. Known for bringing out the best in his students with innovative training methods.
He helped guide his team to second place at the GAC tournament and helped two players earn All-GAC honors, senior Hailey Estes and junior Pink Jones. Additionally, he is a former All-District runner at Oklahoma Christian University.
After retiring as a player, he worked as an executive with both the Toronto Raptors and Continental Basketball Association before taking over head coaching duties for Indiana Pacers. Subsequently he served as president and part owner of Knicks’ WNBA sister franchise New York Liberty before later serving as television commentator.
Thomas has amassed an immense fortune from his professional football career and subsequent coaching endeavors, as well as other aspects of the game such as being an esteemed commentator. When not coaching or commentating he enjoys golfing and traveling.
Though it’s impossible to ascertain his exact net worth, estimates put his worth around $10 million. His annual salary stands at approximately $7 million while he has also made investments in several sports teams and businesses.
Thomas helped mold emerging talent such as Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley and Al Harrington during his time with the Pacers; however, their team failed to keep pace with elite competition due to a lack of playoff experience among their younger players.