May 27, 2024

Thomas resigns as DCCC football coach

DODGE CITY, KAN. — Gary Thomas has announced his resignation as the head coach for the Dodge City Community College football team. Thomas submitted his resignation to Athletic Director Jake Ripple on Tuesday.

Thomas came to Dodge City in 2013 and has been the head football coach ever since. The Conqs went 33-33 in Thomas’ six seasons at the helm. Thomas has been credited with a big turnaround in the DCCC football program. The Conqs had won just six games in the previous five seasons before Thomas took over.

“I don’t know if you can say enough about what he has meant to this football program,” Ripple said. “This program was in a bad spot when he took over and now we’re sitting here looking at a 4-7 season and being disappointed. That’s the expectations that he has built for this program.”

Thomas coached his final game for DCCC on Saturday afternoon when the Conqs defeated the Fort Scott Greyhounds, 27-7 to finish the season 4-7 and 2-6 in KJCCC play.

The Conqs won the KJCCC title in 2015 for the first time in 30 years under the direction of Thomas. That same season they played in the Salt City Bowl in Hutchinson and finished with a 9-3 record overall. Thomas will leave as the third winningest coach in program history.

Not only did Thomas control what was going on on the field, he also put a big emphasis with his players in the classroom. Thomas’ teams took home the highest overall team GPA for football teams in the KJCCC the past two seasons.

“He’s meant a lot to our student-athletes and the community,” Ripple said. “He bought in on getting the kids to do the right thing in the classroom. He’s not going to be easy to replace at all.”

Thomas had coached seven NJCAA All-Americans during his time as the head coach with DCCC. Thomas currently has two of his former players on NFL rosters and five have been on an NFL roster at some point.

“It is a tough day for me as an athletic director,” Ripple said. “Coach Thomas has been an outstanding coach for Conq Football and I have developed a very good relationship with him since I took this job.”

Ripple said that the job will be posted online to the public at some point on Wednesday and that he has already received phone calls and emails regarding the job. The search will begin immediately for a successor of coach Thomas.

“We will start reviewing the applications the week after Thanksgiving,” Ripple said. “Hopefully we can start interviewing the week after that and have somebody named before our kids leave for finals. I’m sure we’ll get a good applicant pool and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

In the meantime, current receivers coach Jamar Johnson will serve as the interim head coach of the football program. Thomas plans on staying in the community, but will be pursuing other activities beyond coaching.