James “JT” Thomas, former linebacker of the West Virginia Mountaineers, will be inducted into the Minor League Football News Hall of Fame on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at the Oasis Resort Hotel & Casino in Mesquite, Nevada.
Thomas’ nomination was reviewed by the MLFN’s Board of Directors, and he received notification of his acceptance on July 30.
“It is truly an honor to be receiving this award,” said Thomas. “I owe a big thank you to everyone for supporting me through the years.”
Thomas has used strong leadership skills, tireless work ethic, and passion for the game to become a driving force in the development and promotion of minor league and semi-professional football across the Midwest.
The story of JT Thomas’ football career can be broken into three distinct chapters: player, coach, and executive. Thomas’ collegiate career started at Fort Scott Community College (Kansas) in 1992. Following his sophomore season, Thomas transferred to West Virginia University (WVU).
In two seasons at Fort Scott – both as team captain – Thomas earned two All-Kansas Jayhawk Conference honors at outside linebacker and Defensive Player of the Game in 1992’s Valley of the Sun Bowl. At inside linebacker for WVU, Thomas received two Mountaineer Club Awards for on-field excellence, earned two All-Big East team honors, and won Defensive Player of the Game in the 1994 CarQuest Bowl. He also led both teams in tackles each season.
A successful college career led Thomas to the semi-pro football circuit in 1996 with the Charleston Rockets, where he was able to play with former WVU great Major Harris. Returning to outside linebacker, Thomas led the team in tackles and became a league All-Star as the Rockets finished their 11-game regular season 10-1. Thomas attempted to carry his success from semi-pro ball to the Arena Football League in 1997 with the Albany Firebirds, but sustained a career ending leg injury on the third day of training camp.
Instead of a helmet and pads, the next step of Thomas’ football career featured a headset and clipboard. After a stint as Defensive Coordinator for a championship team of 13-16 year olds, Thomas returned to semi-pro football in 2000 as Head Coach of the West Virginia WHAM! Located in Morgantown, WV, Thomas compiled a .695 winning percentage (41 wins, 18 losses), won three Coach of the Year awards, and coached three league All-Star games in six seasons as WHAM! head coach.
In 2001, Thomas also led the WHAM! to the Mid-Ohio Football League (MOFL) Championship.
During the 2003 season, Thomas took over full ownership of the WHAM! When he stepped off the WHAM! sideline in 2005, he decided to shift his focus full-time towards developing the success of semi-professional football and the WHAM! franchise. In the two years since he has stopped coaching, Thomas has held executive positions within the Ohio Valley Football League and the MOFL. In January of 2007, Thomas was promoted to MOFL Commissioner.
Currently, Thomas oversees the day-to-day operations of the MOFL – an expanding, 10-team semi-pro league across Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky. His love for semi-professional football is matched only by his desire to see the MOFL – and every minor league football organization – produce a football product that is competitive, organized, developed, and entertaining for the players in the game and the fans in the stands.
Thomas also serves as a Semi-Professional Sports Consultant with League Level, LLC, a company that provides marketing and promotional strategies for organizations with an emphasis in amateur and semi-professional athletics.
He currently resides in Morgantown, WV, with his wife Rochelle and two children, Jared, 3, and AJ, 10 months. Thomas also has son, JT Thomas III, from a previous relationship.