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Fort Chiswell junior Coleman Thomas is rated the nation’s No. 3 center in the class of 2014 by Fox Sports NEXT.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Somewhere, a 140-pound ninth-place batter at Narrows or Bland County or Galax is breathing a big sigh of relief.
Timesland's most imposing baseball pitcher will not be returning for his senior year on the diamond.
Fort Chiswell's 6-foot-6, 305-pound Coleman Thomas - whose prowess on the football field earned him a scholarship at Tennessee - said Friday he will enroll in college in January.
Thomas, a first-team All-Timesland offensive lineman in 2012, will play football for Fort Chiswell as a senior this fall.
He will begin college classes in Knoxville on Jan. 6, bypassing his senior seasons in basketball and baseball for the Pioneers.
Thomas has received approval from the Wythe County school system to finish up his high school academic requirements in December. He will return next spring for graduation exercises with his classmates.
"It was a month-long decision," Thomas said. "But I had to do what was best for my future.
"I can get a head start in the program, get into their strength program, learn the playbook and jell with the players and coaches."
Thomas, rated the No. 3 center in the class of 2014 by Fox Sports NEXT, will be able to participate in the Volunteers' 2014 spring practice.
If the coaching staff opts to redshirt Thomas until 2015, he would be able to participate in two spring practices before stepping on the field in a Tennessee uniform.
Thomas, who has not yet turned 18, said six other members of Tennessee's 2014 signing class under first-year head coach Butch Jones also will be early enrollees.
"I can't wait to see him when he comes back," said Thomas' father, Richie, a former head coach at PH-Glade Spring. "He'll get in their weight program. I'm just glad I won't be buying his food."
Thomas and several of his teammates are vacationing in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this week, where he said Tennessee fans already recognize him and have asked him to pose with them for pictures.
"He better enjoy that now," Richie Thomas said. "Wait till he gives up a sack and gets the quarterback killed in front of 110,000 people. They won't want to take his picture. They'll want to put his picture up."
Alumnus takes reins as Roanoke Catholic AD
Matt Peck, a 1998 Roanoke Catholic graduate who played three sports for the Celtics, has been hired as the school's athletic director.
Peck, 33, is replacing Jason Hannah, who is moving to Grand Rapids, Mich., where his wife is taking a job.
Peck played football, basketball and soccer at Roanoke Catholic, then moved on to play one year of football under Mike Clark at Bridgewater College.
Peck eventually earned a degree from Radford University and a master's from Hollins. He was working at National College until he said his job was a victim of financial cutbacks.
He landed a position at Roanoke Catholic as a long-term substitute teacher and a middle school basketball coach.
Peck assisted Hannah last winter with some administrative duties, helping run the VIC boys basketball tournament at Roanoke College and some wrestling tournaments on campus.
Peck said his top two priorities when he officially begins work Monday will be developing a middle school lacrosse program and restoring the varsity baseball program.
Peck also said he expects the school to re-sign its lease by July 17 with Roanoke County to continue to use fields at Vinyard Park for football, soccer and lacrosse.
The school also has installed new tinted windows and a new floor in its gymnasium, which opened in 1964.
"Jason has done a good job with the stewardship of our athletic programs," Peck said. "I'm not here to make waves. The boosters have been very supportive. We're not wanting for anything right now."
Rowsey not on roster for state all-star game
Rockbridge County's Andrew Rowsey, who finished his career as the No. 2
boys basketball scorer in VHSL history with 2,636 points, will not play in the July 8 VHSCA East-West all-star game in Newport News.
Rowsey, a UNC Asheville signee, was on the original West roster, but he will begin summer school the same day as the game and is not allowed to miss any classes.
"I'd have to be on the road 20 hours to get him there and back," said Rowsey's father, Chris.
Three other Division I signees - Hampton's Anthony Barber (N.C. State), Kecoughtan's Rodney Bullock (Providence) and Great Bridge's Steve Bienlien (Air Force) - are no longer listed on the East roster.
Four players awarded Rawlings scholarship
Alex Dunkenberger of Glenvar, William Echols of Northside, Kristy Choi of Blacksburg and Allie Greene of Patrick Henry have been awarded a $500 Fred Rawlings Memorial Tennis Scholarship from the Roanoke Valley Tennis Association.
Criteria for selection included academics, community service and commitment to high school tennis.
The award is named in memory of longtime Roanoke Country Club tennis professional Fred Rawlings.
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