July 23, 2012 in Division III
When Mike Thomas stepped down as coach at Kalamazoo Central earlier this month to take an assistant coaching job at Albion College, it left a big void in high school basketball. But, as Mick McCabe of the Detroit Free Press writes, expect Thomas, 29, to work as hard to become a standout college coach as he did at the high school level. From the article:
The game I will always remember Thomas for was his final tournament game when Central stunned Detroit Southeastern in the 2011 championship game.
Southeastern featured Brandan Kearney (Michigan State) and Percy Gibson (Iowa State). Central was missing one starter and two key reserves who Thomas suspended for missing curfew the night before the final, making Central a colossal underdog.
Yet Thomas concocted a masterful game plan, and his players bought in heart and soul, just as they did when he was the guy who looked like their older brother instead of the guy who would change the culture of Central hoops.
Many coaches have the ability to understand X’s and O’s and teach the game from a structural standpoint, but the charisma/leadership/getting guys to buy in aspect are much tougher skills to acquire for a coach. Thomas has those, and they should be just as useful as a college coach as they were as a high school coach.