September 5, 2007
07-131

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU Alumni Office 229-333-5797 800-464-3638

VSU Announces Homecoming events; Tommy Thomas named DistinguishedAlumnus

VALDOSTA - Valdosta State University’s 2007 Homecoming weekend is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, September 27-29, with a variety of exciting events and the annual awarding of the Distinguished Alumnus. The following schedule will display the highlights of the weekend:

Thursday, Sept. 27
• 7-10 p.m. VSU Community Pep Rally, P.E. Complex

Friday, Sept. 28
• 10:30 a.m. Alumni Golf Tournament, Valdosta Country Club (Reservations Required)
• 6 p.m. VSU Homecoming Parade, North Patterson Street
• 7 p.m. Twilight Centennial Concert/Laser Show and Family Activities, VSU front lawn

Saturday, Sept. 29, sponsored by the Valdosta Tourism Authority
• 11:30 a.m. Alumni Association Annual Meeting and Lunch, Magnolia Room, University Center (Reservations Required)
• 2-3:30 p.m. VSU Community Indoor “Tailgate” Party, University Center, (Reservations Required)
• 4 p.m. VSU Blazers vs. Ouachita Baptist, Bazemore-Hyder Stadium

The 2007 Distinguish Alumnus of the Year, Tommy Thomas, will receive his award at the Alumni Association Annual Meeting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, as well as special recognition during the 4 p.m. VSU Blazer football game. Thomas graduated from Valdosta State after a four-year baseball career where he played third base and batted .316. A business degree led him into the business world for just a short time before he decided to return to school to get a master’s degree in Education from Georgia Southern. In 1966, Thomas again joined the Valdosta State family as an assistant baseball coach for Billy Grant and was head coach by 1967.

Over the next 40 years, Thomas led the VSU baseball team through 34 winning seasons, 1,000 wins, 25 opportunities for post-post season play, eight trips to the national tournament, Gulf South Conference titles in 1995 and 2002, Divisional titles in 1983, 2001 and 2003, and a Division II national title in 1979, the school’s first national title of any kind.

His leadership supported players into All-American honors 28 times and All-Gulf South Conference honors 76 times. He was named the American Baseball Coaches Association’s National Coach of the Year in 1979 and GSC Coach of the Year in 1995 and 2002. In 2006, he became the first and only active player/coach to be inducted into Valdosta State’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Off the baseball field, Thomas was known for his comfortable, effective teaching style. Guy D. Ervin ’95, treasurer for the Alumni Association Board of Directors and member responsible for nominating Thomas for the award, explained he always remembered how Thomas was very patient, entertaining and focused on students. When it came time for nominations, Ervin knew there was no other man for the award.

“I feel like he was very deserving. He has done a lot for the university as a student, a coach and a teacher,” he said.
Thomas will be honored throughout Homecoming weekend as other VSU alumni and supporters enjoy the festivities. The Class of 1947 will also be recognized at the special lunch Saturday in honor of its 60th anniversary. For a complete list of events and descriptions, visit www.valdostastate.org or contact Office of Alumni Relations, (229) 333-5797.