The 2016-17 season will be Dave Thomas’ 11th season as the Philadelphia University cross country head coach and the fifth as the head coach of the track & field program. In his time at Philadelphia, Thomas has built the Rams into a dominant force within the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC).
The cross country programs have combined to win nine CACC championships (women – seven, men – two) in Thomas’ first 10 years at the helm. Philadelphia’s women have won seven of the last eight CACC titles (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015). The men claimed the conference title in 2009 and 2014.
A seven-time CACC cross country coach of the year (women – five, men two), Thomas has helped Joshua Vander Veen (2006), Sarah Simonetti (2010, 2011), Emilie Barton (2015), and Curran Kneebone (2015) earned the CACC Runner of the Year award, given to the runner that wins the CACC Championship meet. In 2009 and 2011, Simonetti represented Philadelphia University at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championship. She is the only runner from the University and the CACC to compete in the national champion.
Thomas’ coaching has allowed the Rams to achieve All-CACC recognition 76 times (women – 45, men – 31), including four-time honorees Faith Anderson (2006-09), Gabrielle Dei Tos (2008-11), Simonetti (2008-11), Taylor Falvey (2011-14), Eric Lacy (2011-14), Tim Malloy (2011-14), Alyssa Litty (2012-15), and Emilie Barton (2012-15). Seven Rams have earned the CACC Rookie of the Year award: Simonetti (2008), Chelsea Attaway (2010), Malloy (2011), Falvey (2011), Litty (2012), Jessica Thies (2013), and Juliana Coculo (2015).
Regionally, the women achieved their highest final at the NCAA Division II East Region Championship in 2011 with a third-place finish, while the men recorded their best finish of seventh in 2014. Simonetti earned United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-East Region recognition four times. Anjelica DiNucci (2010), Christina Wetzel (2011), Malloy (2013), Lacy (2013), Litty (2013), and Falvey (2013) has also earned all-region honors during Thomas’ tenure.
On the track side, Philadelphia’s women have finished three in all three CACC Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the men posted a second-place finish in 2014, a third place in 2015, and a sixth place in 2016. Falvey won the 5,000-meter run and the 10,000-meter run in 2015 to earn the CACC Women’s Track Athlete of the Year.
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.