By John Frierson
James Thomas is a fantastic deal additional than a monitor and discipline coach. The new Georgia assistant, who will oversee the Bulldogs’ jumpers and blended-events scholar-athletes, is also a partner, father … and a home designer. “I like to design and style stuff from scratch,” he claimed.
Thomas has joined new Director of Keep track of and Subject Caryl Smith Gilbert‘s employees right after coaching various NCAA champions during an exceptional 10 years at Texas Tech. Along with guiding these nationwide champions and dozens of All-Individuals in the course of his 20 yrs as a collegiate mentor, Thomas has also made and been the imaginative drive driving five homes.
All through a latest Fast Chat, Thomas talked about his times as an athlete, his excitement at coming to Georgia, his fascination in properties, and a great deal extra. Here’s some of what he experienced to say:
Frierson: Soon after a wonderful run at Texas Tech, what is it like shifting to a new school, new town, and a new plan?
Thomas: It truly is kind of even now a whirlwind. All the things transpired so swift, and when you have a relatives that you uproot and you shift you say goodbye to one particular symbol, one university, and then you start off attempting to understand the names of an operation at UGA that is compared with any other, with so much help and folks in location to support our student-athletes and coaches.
It really is been a whole lot, I nearly have to have some flashcards to keep up with the names and information simply because there are so a lot of individuals in the UGA household that play a aspect in all the success. It is really been a journey so much now.
Frierson: What gatherings did you compete in during your observe and subject times?
Thomas: I was a jumper and a decathlete. I started out off as a significant university type accomplishing extended, triple and high, all the jumps, out of west Houston, the city of Katy, Texas. I did that developing up and then I went to college and moved to the decathlon. I might tampered with it a tiny bit my 1st 3 decades, just attempting some distinctive activities, but after I obtained performed with basketball I had a comprehensive fifth 12 months just to concentration on monitor. That’s when I went hefty on the decathlon. I had an incredible coach and he introduced me up and showed me the way.
Frierson: In the decathlon or heptathlon, which is the toughest party for pupil-athletes to pick up on and do very well? Or is it various for absolutely everyone?
Thomas: It can be a minimal diverse with every person. Some individuals are naturals — me, I grabbed the javelin. I was an ex-football player and I could always toss nicely. I grabbed the jav and it didn’t take me very long to figure out how to throw a spear in a spiral.
What you master is the commonalities of athletics and the way things join like a puzzle. If you’re missing some pieces of the puzzle then you never get that total picture. In the decathlon and a lot of these occasions, they’re like a perform of art, a puzzle, and it is our position to make positive we have all the pieces for individuals to set that picture with each other.
Which is in all probability the toughest portion, because of the commonalities. If you are acquiring problems in 1 region, like your sprinting publishing, your functioning variety, that error is going to be the same error throughout the board in a long of other events. You from time to time have to start off from the floor up and get youthful gentlemen and girls to have an understanding of that this is how you have to do sure items. There are specified issues, technical things, that you need to set in spot straight away in buy to have achievements brief and extensive time period.
Frierson: What is a thing you could eat every single working day and never get drained of it?
Thomas: That’s a tough just one. It has to begin with a drink — I’m a tea person, I am a scorching tea guy, I really don’t drink coffees. I could do tea at most likely 100 degrees, 110 degrees. I love incredibly hot tea, and it really is usually a inexperienced or some style of organic tea.
As for some form of foodstuff that I could do each individual day, I am a seafood man. It can be spicy, it can be shrimp, it can be fish — I like items from the sea. All of my relatives is from Louisiana, New Orleans, and so I grew up a seafood person. All of our stuff is Cajun, spicy, points like that. When people today inquire, do you like spicy food stuff? Not truly, except it can be Cajun. If it can be Cajun, it can be as spicy as it can be.
Frierson: How are you in the kitchen area?
Thomas: You know what, I like to believe I am rather good. My son (Jordan), who’s 12, he’s the future culinary arts kid. He is been cooking breakfast for the loved ones because he was in all probability around 10, waking up, scrambling eggs, cooking bacon, turning the oven on — he’s really innovative in these places.
Amongst him and my wife, they enjoy the kitchen area. I constructed a pleasant outdoor grill and that’s my excuse for possessing my male toys, get the pit using tobacco, and do factors like that. From some crawfish boils to some grilling on the pit, I love that.
Frierson: Do you have a inventive facet? Is there something resourceful you do or want you could do?
Thomas: I like to structure stuff from scratch. I don’t know what it is but I have been a aspect of assisting design and style track facilities, I have constructed 5 properties, two of them created from scratch. A single of them started off out on a sheet of paper that I did on a aircraft. I employed an architect and sooner or later uncovered a builder that could execute the eyesight.
I like building. I’ve normally experienced a creative side and I appear for that way to make the eyesight of what you want. My subsequent huge undertaking I think I want to do is probably choose an older dwelling in Athens and perhaps a close by spot, gut the whole detail out and see what I can do with any individual else’s development, see if I can nonetheless make it my very own.
Frierson: That was a incredibly surprising reply. Did you analyze architecture? How do you even know how to start creating your personal residence?
Thomas: I look back again to when I was a younger child, 4 or 5 years outdated, and we moved out to Houston, to the suburb of Katy. They designed a home from scratch they took every thing they experienced, almost everything they owned, and poured into developing a $110,000 household for us to be capable to be in one of the nicest college districts in the city.
We went there and each individual one working day I preferred to there (to the property when it was remaining crafted) with my father. I watched every single solitary piece of concrete becoming poured, I watched the basis come up, I watched the inner framing and woodwork occur up, each and every section of the property currently being developed.
My father was a contractor so he did a great deal of perform like that, and I was usually close to renovating, creating, painting. That was his issue — I hated it, accomplishing the best handbook labor you can consider of, in the metropolis of Houston. But at the conclude of the day, I nonetheless like the innovative component. I can arrive up with the suggestions but I need to have any person else to execute them.
I’m not acquiring out there and buying up a hammer and developing it myself, but I can confident provide a really excellent eyesight to lifestyle.
(This Q&A was flippantly edited for size and clarity.)
Assistant Sports Communications Director John Frierson is the personnel author for the UGA Athletic Affiliation and curator of the ITA Men’s Tennis Corridor of Fame. You can find his do the job at: Frierson Data files. He’s also on Twitter: @FriersonFiles and @ITAHallofFame.