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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Johnson: Thomas likes Central too much to leave

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thank goodness the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Shelbyville Central basketball fans will be happy to hear that coach Kevin Thomas is staying and will not accept the vacant head coaching job at Oakland.

Longtime Oakland coach Randy King retired at the end of the season. He had been a coach at the Murfreesboro school for 33 years and the head coach the past 23. His overall record was 552-173 and the Patriots had 20 straight 20-plus win seasons.

Thomas just completed his 10th year over the Golden Eagle program, and he's building a résumé comparable to King's, with 220 wins and 109 losses.

Under Thomas the Eagles have won four District 8-AAA tournament titles and advanced to the sub-state four times and the state twice, including one championship game. To say that he's taken the Golden Eagle basketball program to the next level is a huge understatement.

Success brings rewards.

I'm not surprised that Oakland or any other school looking for coach is interested in Thomas. He's one of the best young coaches in Tennessee.

By the way, he just turned 38 Tuesday.

After King's announcement of his retirement, Oakland showed a lot of interest in Thomas and he, in turn, owed it to himself and his family to look into the opportunity.

"Oakland has a great basketball tradition and is one of the best basketball jobs in Middle Tennessee," Thomas said. "I got a number of phone calls from the Oakland community and I thought I owed it to myself and my family to see what it was all about.

"One thing led to another and I was told today (Tuesday) that I was going to be offered the job. My wife and I talked and decided that we wanted to stay here at Shelbyville. This community has always been great to me and my family and this is a great community to live in and raise my kids."

It had to be a hard decision considering the Oakland job was going to be a substantial raise.

"Money isn't always the determining factor and some may think I'm silly considering the way the economy is right now," Thomas said. "You have to look at the situation from a number of different angles.

"I love working at Shelbyville Central and this community does a great job of supporting their basketball teams. We have a lot of good kids returning and I look forward to getting to work and having another successful season next year."

-- Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer who covers Shelbyville Central athletics. He can be reached at gjohnson@t-g.com.

Gary Johnson
Point by Point

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