Release courtesy of Edgewood College athletics communications
MADISON, Wis. --- When starting a new program, it is crucial to land the perfect first head coach to get the ball rolling. Edgewood College has done just that with the men's volleyball program, announcing Jeff "JT" Thomas as the Eagles' first head coach.
"This is an awesome time for Edgewood College Athletics!" said Edgewood College Director of Athletics Al Brisack. "We are bringing Southwest Wisconsin its first collegiate men's volleyball program. The Madison area has had such a rich tradition of boys' volleyball that it seems overdue for us to be adding this great sport. Coach Thomas has been a part of this strong tradition. He's competed at the elite levels, coached at every level leading to this position and certainly brings a great passion for the men's game. Going through the process, JT seemed to be the natural fit to lead this new program. In the next year, fans will be excited to see what Coach puts together and how much energy his program will bring to the Edgedome."
Thomas is familiar with Edgewood College, having served as an assistant coach with the women's volleyball team for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. During his previous stint at Edgewood College, Thomas helped lead the women's team to a 37-29 overall record, including a 16-6 mark in the NACC. He also served as a strength & conditioning coach for the Eagles during his previous stint.
"I was absolutely ecstatic when Al [Brisack] called me about this opportunity and stated that it was long overdue in this area," Thomas said. "I cannot wait to take this head-on and really sink my teeth into the chance to not only keep the young, gifted and bright players in this area close to home but to also let other regions know that the Madison area has talent. I'm eager to get back into the men's game and look to make an immediate impact within our conference in 2021."
Last season, Thomas served as the head coach for the women's volleyball team at Madison College. He led the Wolfpack to a 16-12 season and an 8-4 conference record. Thomas also coached Paige Hostetler to NJCAA Division III First Team All-American honors last season after she recorded a program-record 443 kills.
Thomas also brings an extensive background in the club volleyball scene. He spent four years in club volleyball, including two with Madison Elite and Desert Elite in Las Vegas. Prior to that, Thomas was the head boys' varsity coach at his alma mater, La Follette High School, from 2009 to 2012.
Thomas played club volleyball at UW-Oshkosh as an outside hitter and middle blocker, guiding the Titans to a 56-1 record and a National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) national championship in 2006.
His collection of postseason accolades includes NIRSA First Team All-American in 2006, back-to-back Wisconsin Volleyball Conference (WVC) Most Valuable Player awards in 2005 and 2006, the WVC Freshman of the Year in 2001, four WVC all-conference selections, and a MIVA MVP honor in 2005. His success led to a brief training period with the USA national team, where he earned a practice team roster spot in 2006, and a 2011 induction in the WVC Hall of Fame.
Thomas was a three-sport athlete at La Follette High School, earning a total of 12 varsity letters in volleyball, basketball, and track & field. The outside hitter was a two-time All-Big 8 Conference selection, while also placing third in the 400-meter relay at the WIAA State Track & Field Championships.
Thomas currently lives in Sun Prairie with his wife Kayla and their son, Jayce.
*Parts of this story were taken from Thomas' bio at MadisonCollegeAthletics.com