At the ripe old age of 39, Shelbyville Central coach Kevin Thomas has reached a coaching milestone many far older have yet to achieve.
The Golden Eagles' 64-47 win over Lincoln County in the District 8-AAA tournament semifinals Monday night was his 250th as a head coach.
In his 12 years as head coach at Shelbyville, Thomas has compiled a 250-135 record. Along the way Thomas and the Eagles have won four district tournament championships and finished runner-up in the Class AAA state championship in 2006.
When Shelbyville squares off against Lawrence County tonight at 7:30 at Franklin County High School, it will be the ninth season the Eagles have made it to the District 8-AAA tournament finals.
"To be honest, this 250th win really slipped up on me," Thomas said. "As soon as you hear that number you think, well, you've been somewhere a while, then it makes you think about all the good high school basketball players I've had.
"I've been really fortunate. The kids that have played for me have all bought into our system and how we do things and even though we've had to overcome some issues over the years, for the most part our kids have behaved well and played hard and I want to thank all the guys that have come through this basketball program over the past 12 years.
"The support I've gotten and the support this community has given to our boys basketball program has been great and I've been blessed to be a part of it."
Previous Eagle coaches hadn't stayed long-term but Thomas changed that with hard work and patience.
Over the years other coaching opportunities have been there for Thomas but he calls Shelbyville his home and he's always been appreciative of how this community supports his family and him.
"When I first took this job a man told me that he hated that I took the boys head coaching job at Shelbyville because it seemed like no one had ever stayed over two years," Thomas said. "I thought to myself right then, 'I'm not here for only two years.' It seems like a long time ago, but I've really enjoyed it here and I hope to get a lot more wins before we're done."
-- Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer.