Outgoing Nodaway Valley girls basketball coach Tom Thompson has had his share of success, including one of the most successful stretches of basketball for any program in the area.
“It has been a lot of fun. The kids were great. I’ve really enjoyed it, “Thompson said. “It got to be the time where I thought it was time maybe for someone else to take over and maybe grow it from where it is at.”
Thompson and his wife Kathy had talked over the decision and came to the conclusion this was the right time for him to step away.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, his resignation was accepted after nine years as coach, over which Thompson compiled a record of 139 wins and 66 losses.
Success over time
The year Thompson became coach (the 2009-2010 season), with just over a month to prepare after being named coach in October, the Wolverine girls put together a record of 10-12.
Two years later, NV finished 20-3, namely behind the leadership of seniors Sara Kerber and Paige Jones, losing only to Central Decatur, Treynor, and a Bedford team that went 26-2 and lost in the state finals.
Every year after his first season was a winning season, and after suffering 10 losses in his sophomore campaign as coach, the Wolverines never again sustained double-digit losses in his tenure.
The 2017-2018 campaign could have been a year of struggle given the loss of two of the better players in program history in record book editors Paige McElfish and Josie Clarke, but the Wolverines roared to a 16-7 record and competed fiercely near the top of the Pride of Iowa with a young team that went to the end of its bench every night.
While the possibility of stepping away from the girls made the choice to step down difficult, the chance at handing over the program on a high note was a big point of appeal for Thompson.
“It wasn’t an easy decision. We (he and his wife Kathy) put a lot of thought and time into it,” Thompson said. “I really feel like the program is in a good place. There’s a lot of talent there and more talent coming and I didn’t want to turn it over to somebody at a point in time where it was way down.”
While the numerous winning seasons helped achieved goals the teams set, other things were a priority for Thompson.
“What I’ll remember is the relationships I’ve established not only with the kids, but with parents and other coaches and administrators and the board has been fantastic,” Thompson said.
He specifically wanted to thank the supporters of the program who showed him a different side than is common in youth sports today.
“You hear about all of the negative parent/coach relationships and how bad parents are and I’ve never felt that,” Thompson said. “I certainly know that there has been parents that were disappointed that their kids didn’t get to play more, but I’ve never really had a parent come to me and yell at me or complain about
anything. They’ve been nothing but supportive about what I’ve done. Not every story is a bad one about how bad parents treat coaches.”
With the program on solid footing, Wolverine athletics looks for the next coach to carry them into the future. Thompson has no intention to coach going forward, but has every intention of following where NV girls basketball is headed.