MISSION – Sharyland ISD Athletic Director Richard Thompson was named Region VII Athletic Administrator of the Year at the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association state conference this week in San Angelo.
Members of THSADA Region VII, which comprises all Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi athletic administrators, chose Thompson for the award.
Thompson has spent his entire coaching career at Sharyland High School, starting as a varsity assistant football coach in 1980. Before becoming an assistant athletic director, Thompson served as the head boys track coach, head boys cross country coach and head girls cross country coach. Thompson has been the athletic director for 13 years, taking the position in 2000.
Out of 1,600 athletic directors throughout the state, including both public and private schools, the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA) gave one award to each of the state’s five regions during this inaugural year of the award. The award recipient is selected based on the criteria of achievement, contribution to THSADA and direct involvement in the activities of their assigned region. The award is to recognize the quality of work and professional achievement of athletic administrators throughout the State of Texas, according to Rusty Dowling, THSADA executive director.
“This is the inaugural year for this award so the recognition is especially significant,” said Dowling. “Mr. Thompson has displayed these qualities throughout his career and is highly respected by fellow athletic administrators around the State of Texas. Mr. Thompson has been actively involved with the THSADA and is extremely deserving of this award.”
“We’re very proud of Coach Thompson,” said SISD Superintendent Dr. Virginia Richter during last week’s board meeting.
Suzanne Peña, previous Sharyland board member and a parent, said it has been an honor to know Thompson personally, professionally and as a coach. She couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of such an award.
“He’s amazing,” said Peña. With staff and his students, he is very respected by all that meet him. “He has a big heart. He is so humble. It’s not about him.”
Ricky Longoria, school board member, said he has always thought highly of Thompson and this achievement speaks highly of Thompson’s good judgment, integrity and passion.
Sharyland School Board President Dr. Noe Oliveira said, “I couldn’t think of it being given to a better person, or more deserving person.”
Thompson said his goals since 2000 have been to improve athletic facilities and coach stipends, hire good teacher/coaches, especially head coaches, and be the “Best We Can Be” in every sport. Even though most of these goals have been achieved, he believes they must continually strive to improve every year.
“When it comes to the athletic field, our coaches and athletes have a great desire to be successful in every sport,” Thompson said. “They might not win every district championship, but they will be in the hunt throughout the season.”
Another of Thompson’s goals is making sure coaches know they can make a difference. He said their main responsibilities as a coach is to try and make a positive difference in their athletes’ lives.
Of Thompson, Coach Thomas Lee said, you will not get anyone better in supporting athletics, coaches and athletes.
“He bleeds Sharyland Red and is at every contest where our kids perform,” said Lee. “He has been (a) mentor and role model for me in my 19 years of coaching. He fights for athletics and the values it teaches our kids every day of their lives.”
Head Football Coach Ron Adame, who has worked with Thompson since 1995, said, “I instantly recognized that this man was an individual of dignity and respect. His professionalism was seen and displayed while on the track as well as in the hallways….”
“I use Coach Thompson as a model of what a coach is and should be,” added Adame. “I will continue to pour my heart and soul into Sharyland athletics simply because I don't want to let Coach Thompson down.”
Thompson has served as Region VII Director for THSADA state board twice, and has served as president of the Rio Grande Valley Athletic Directors Association. He has also been honored by the Rio Grande Valley Coaches Association as honoree of the “Meet of Champions” in 2003 and as Athletic Director of the Year at the City of Palms Coaching Clinic in 2003 and 2009.
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