Release courtesy of Earlham College
RICHMOND, IN – Earlham College head cross country and track & field coach Pat Thomas is retiring after a 29-year stint at Earlham, effective at the end of the 2015-16 academic year.
“Pat embodies the spirit of Earlham College,” director of athletics Mike Bergum said. “His dedication and commitment over the years has developed student-athletes, competitive programs, and quality citizens. His body of work goes beyond the numbers. Pat has been a fixture at Earlham for nearly three decades and will be missed.”
Thomas came to Earlham from Marietta College in 1987 as head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach. The next two years Thomas’s duties increased as he added sports information director duties in 1988 and was promoted to head track & field coach in 1989. Thomas would serve the College as sports information director until 1993.
During his first several years, Thomas coached 40 All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) performers including 10 individual champions in both cross country and track & field. Thomas did all this while also writing recaps and keeping statistics for the sports information side of his position.
Thomas led Earlham to back-to-back NCAC Men’s Cross Country Championships in 1995 and 1996. The 1995 squad won the conference outright with 66 points, edging second-place Allegheny by three points. A year later, the Quakers shared the title with Wittenberg as both teams finished with 75 points. Thomas was named NCAC Coach of the Year both seasons.
Throughout the next decade, Thomas coached six All-Region honorees. In 2007, Thomas guided Walker Yane to an All-American performance in the Steeplechase. A season later, Sara Bohall and Chris Shaw garnered All-American recognition in the 400 hurdles and the discus respectively.
Thomas remained head coach as Earlham transitioned into the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) in 2011. Two of Thomas’s men’s cross country teams led all of NCAA Division III in combined cumulative grade-point average, most recently in 2012.
In total, Thomas has coached 300 All-Conference performances, 58 individual conference champions, nine All-Region performances (cross country only), two NCAC Newcomers of the Year, 11 Conference Athletes of the Year, eight National Qualifiers, three All-Americans (track & field only), and two NCAC Championship teams.
Six of Thomas’s former student-athletes are members of the Earlham Athletics Hall of Fame. They are as follows: Troy Gottfried ’98 (inducted in 2013), Karim Hammad ’93 (inducted in 2010), Tiffany Harris ’94 (inducted in 2007), Scott Pearson ’92 (inducted in 2005), Shannan Rieder ’01 (inducted in 2012), and Andy White ’96 (inducted in 2007). Thomas’s 1995 NCAC Championship team was also inducted in 2007.
“The opportunity to coach Earlham student-athletes has been the ultimate reward during my time here,” Thomas said. “I have found great satisfaction in being a part of the development of so many bright, genuine, and sincere students who were focused on receiving a great education, but who would also apply themselves to their fullest as athletes.”
Thomas graduated from The Ohio State University in 1976 and was a four-year member of the Buckeyes’ cross country and track & field teams. He also earned a Masters’ Degree in exercise science from Ohio State in 1982.