Dave Thomas enters his ninth season as the head coach of the Philadelphia University’s cross country teams and his fourth as the head track coach.
In women's cross country, the Rams have won five consecutive Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) championships from 2008 to 2012. Under his tutelage, Sarah Simonetti won the CACC individual crown in 2010 and 2011, and competed in the 2009 and 2011 NCAA Division II National Championship meet. Simonetti won the 2011 conference title in a CACC Championship course record of 18 minutes, 43 seconds.
Thomas helped the men’s cross country team win the 2008 CACC title. In his first season, Joshua Vander Veen took the individual championship. Thomas also coached Shawn D 'Andrea—a three-time All-CACC runner—to eight individual race victories from 2007 to 2009.
Last season, both teams took second in the CACC Championship. On the women's side, Jessica Thies earned the conference's rookie of the year award.
In 2011 both teams had their best NCAA Division II East Regional meet finish under Thomas as the women came home third, while the men had a ninth-place finish.
A six-time CACC coach of the year (men – 2008, 2010; women – 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013), Thomas has coached 23 All-CACC runners (12 women, 11 men), including four-time all-conference honorees Faith Anderson (2006-09), Gabrielle Dei Tos (2008-11), and Simonetti (2008-11). Simonetti earned United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-East Region (USTFCCCA) team recognition four times, while Anjelica DiNucci (2010), and Christina Wetzel (2011) were each named to the team once.
In the classroom, 12 of Thomas’ runners (seven women, five men) have been named to the CACC Fall All-Academic team, and nine (six women, three men) earned USTFCCCA Division II All-Academic Team recognition.
Personally, Thomas has competed in over 75 marathons, including the Boston Marathon 17 times. He posted a personal-best marathon time of 2:28:54 in the 1985 Chicago Marathon. He was the first American to compete in England’s London to Brighton race in 1992 and South Africa’s Comrades Marathon in 2000, both races are 56 miles.
A graduate of Temple University with a B.S. in exercise science, Thomas has worked in the preventive medical field and conditioning coach for over 30 years. During his career, Thomas—who is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association—has been involved in coaching many professional and amateur athletes including members of the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Olympic gold-medalist boxer Meldric Taylor.
For 17 years Thomas has coached the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, an organization in which runners train for sporting events, such as marathons, while raising money for cancer research.
A Level 1 USA Track and Field Coach, Thomas is the president of the Philadelphia Athletic Charities and Fast Cat Sports Productions, the race director of the Schuylkill River Loop Run, and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine.
A life-long Philadelphia native, Thomas lives in the Roxborough section of the city with his wife, Marie.