Courtesy: TSU Athletics
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University family is mourning the loss of former coach and director of athletics William “Bill” Thomas who passed away on Friday, Jan. 18.
“The TSU family and community mourn the passing of Coach William ‘Bill’ Thomas,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Gayla, his daughter, Tosha, and his entire family. We were so delighted that we got a chance to honor him as one of our honorees during the 2017 Homecoming festivities. His memory and legacy will live on.”
Thomas was an assistant football coach under the legendary Big John Merritt and served as head coach from 1984-88. He led TSU to an 11-0 record in 1984 and guided the Big Blue to a 10-2-1 finish and to the second round of the NCAA Championships during his tenure.
He compiled a career record of 34-20-3 at Tennessee State and coached current head coach Rod Reed.
After transitioning to the role of Athletics Director, a position in which he held for eight years, Thomas hired Teresa Phillips as the head women’s basketball coach. Phillips, who now serves as TSU’s Director of Athletics, won two OVC Championships at the helm of the Lady Tiger program
“I’ll be forever grateful to him,” Phillips said. “My heart goes out to his wife Gayla and their daughter as well as his TSU teammates and the student-athletes whose lives he touched. We’ve lost one more of our great Tigers.”
Thomas, who played on the Tennessee State football team from 1967-70, also served as the head coach at Texas Southern from 1994-2003.
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With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.