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Combined Events | Vertical Jumps
James Thomas, a veteran coach with experience at three Division I track and field programs, oversees Texas Tech's combined events program as well as the vertical jumps program.
Thomas arrives at Texas Tech after a six-year stint at the University of Kentucky where he played an integral role in developing the Kentucky combined events and jumps program into a national contender as well as a regular force in the SEC.
Under his tutelage, Kentucky rose to the national scene in the combined events and jumps with five Wildcats earning All-America status in four separate events during his tenure. Meanwhile, Thomas produced an NCAA runner-up in the men's high jump, three SEC Champions and 17 All-SEC honorees.
A total of 28 athletes climbed into the program's all time top-10 list including current school record holders in seven events.
Most recently, he guided prolific Kentucky high jumper Terri-Ann Grant to a historic senior campaign where she earned second team All-America honors along with back-to-back All-SEC honors at both the conference indoor and outdoor meets. Grant developed into one of the most decorated high jumpers in program history under Thomas' tutelage as she holds the No. 2 all-time mark at Kentucky in both the indoor and outdoor high jump.
Grant went on to record a personal-best jump of 5'-11.25" at the Texas Relays during the 2012 outdoor season to launch her to No. 2 on the all-time Kentucky outdoor list.
In 2008, Thomas guided Grant Lindsey to a runner-up performance in the high jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships where he cleared a bar at 7'-5.00". Lindsey also earned SEC and Midwest Region Championships during his 2008 campaign.
Thomas' mark is also well engraved in the Kentucky combined events program as the top four all-time women's pentathlon and top-three all-time performances in the women's heptathlon all occurred during his tenure.
Thomas helped guide Ashley Trimble and Precious Nwokey to All-American careers at Kentucky. Nwokey was a two-time All-American in the indoor pentathlon and 2011 outdoor heptathlon All-American before transferring to Texas Tech in 2012. At Tech she twice set the school record on her way to earning first-team All-American honors at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Meanwhile, Trimble earned All-American honors in the pentathlon during the 2009 season.
Meanwhile, in just Thomas' second season at Kentucky, Derrick Locke earned SEC Freshman Field Athlete of the Year honors during the 2008 season after leaping 25'-5.25" in the long jump at the SEC Indoor Championships. Locke went on to earn All-American honors at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships and set the school's outdoor record in the same year.
Thomas was also a key part of developing Kentucky into a national power in the men's triple jump. During the 2011 season, Kentucky was one of just three schools to advance three men's triple jumpers to the NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifying round. Four separate athletes who trained under Thomas still hold top-10 all time marks at Kentucky.
Meanwhile, Thomas built the Kentucky pole vault program, an event that was sparsely competed in prior to his arrival, from the ground up. Three pole vaulters advanced to the NCAA Championships during his tenure while both the women's indoor and outdoor school records were set during his tenure.
Thomas is a graduate of Sam Houston State University where he earned a Bachelor's of Science in Kinesiology before serving as an assistant coach for the track and field program for one season.
Joining Thomas in Lubbock is his wife Ebony along with their son Jordan Thomas and his mother Joann.