O'Fallon Progress

Someone You Should Know: Erin Thoman all sorts of successful as OTHS boys, girls tennis coach

Erin Thoman has enjoyed a very successful playing and coaching career in the sport of tennis. In addition, she recently earned the prestigious Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association (IHSTCA) Boys Coach of the Year award for 2015.
Erin Thoman has enjoyed a very successful playing and coaching career in the sport of tennis. In addition, she recently earned the prestigious Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association (IHSTCA) Boys Coach of the Year award for 2015.

Erin Thoman and the sport of tennis simply are an ideal match.

To support, Thoman starred for the OTHS girls tennis team in high school before continuing her outstanding tennis career at McKendree, where she also collected an impressive list of accolades.

Then, too, Thoman been the varsity coach for the OTHS girls and boys programs since 2011 and 2013, respectively, helping both achieve high levels of success.

In turn, it’s no surprise Thoman recently earned the prestigious Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association (IHSTCA) Boys Coach of the Year award for 2015.

The annual honor, which has been awarded by the IHSTCA annually since 1971, recognizes coaches for their outstanding efforts and accomplishments in the sport and their positive contributions to high school tennis. Thoman learned of winning via a phone call from Carrie Watson, the IHSTCA selection committee chair, and was quick to credit others for the award and her successes.

I couldn’t believe that it was for the Coach of the Year for the State. I was very honored and excited to win this award and I was totally blown away that it was for the entire state. It says a lot about our boys tennis program and the dedication of our players. I have awesome players and coaches and great support from OTHS, families and friends. I had an awesome mentor, the late coach Ray Cordon.

Erin Thoman, OTHS boys and girls tennis coach

“I couldn’t believe that it was for the Coach of the Year for the State. I was very honored and excited to win this award and I was totally blown away that it was for the entire state,” said Thoman, who also was named the Belleville News-Demoract’s Boys Tennis Co-Coach of the Year for 2015. “It says a lot about our boys tennis program and the dedication of our players. I have awesome players and coaches and great support from OTHS, families and friends. I had an awesome mentor, the late coach Ray Cordon.”

Overall, as noted, Thoman has been the varsity girls coach since Fall 2011 and prior to this was a volunteer coach from Fall 2009 until she took over the head coach post.

On the boys side, Thoman served as the JV coach from Spring 2010 through Spring 2012 before assuming the varsity position in Spring 2013 after Cordon’s unexpected passing in August 2012.

Needless to say, Thoman cherishes coaching both programs.

“I have very dedicated players who put a lot of time and effort into improving their game,” she said. “They are also great students who strive to do their best each day. I am impressed with the passion of the players and their love of the game. Every time we get players to state, that is a big accomplishment.”

Other recent highlights include the girls team beating Belleville East this past fall and the boys winning three straight sectional titles while sending all six players to state and placing 20th at the state tournament in 2015.

So what attracted her to coaching?

“I wanted to share my passion for tennis with the youth and I enjoy helping them reach their goals.”

Moving forward, Thoman hopes to improve upon the programs’ successes.

Ms. Thoman is an outstanding teacher of mathematics. In addition to her classroom teaching excellence, she has also been recognized at an elite level for her coaching of our boys and girls tennis teams. She is a leader by example. She has successfully helped lead her students and athletes toward self-discipline, a strong work ethic and commitment to academic excellence. Ms. Thoman represents the very best qualities that we hope to see in our professional colleagues. Whether in the classroom or on the tennis courts, she is a wonderful role model of honor, integrity, academic excellence and the highest ideals of sportsmanship.

Rich Bickel, OTHS Principal

“I want to continue to improve the OTHS tennis program for both boys and girls,” Thoman said. “I would like to encourage all youth to try tennis. It is a great sport that you can play for a lifetime. We have a middle school tennis program that is for boys and girls in grades sixth, seventh and eighth. It is in the spring and will start in March. I would like to reach as many youth as possible and to encourage them to try our middle school program and then hopefully to try out for the high school team.

“The OTHS tennis players help instruct at the middle school program. We also have a summer camp for boys and girls going into kindergarten through ninth grade.”

Overall, Thoman has been at OTHS seven years and teaches math—Honors Geometry and Advanced Geometry—with the majority of her students being sophomores and some juniors.

All in all, Thoman said the most rewarding aspect of being a teacher and in the classroom is helping students learn and preparing them for the future. Meanwhile, Thoman said what she enjoys most about teaching in general is how many lives she touches.

As far as what attracted her to teaching/the field of eduction, “My excellent teachers I had in preschool, grade school and high school.”

OTHS Principal Rich Bickel offered high praise for Thoman.

“Ms. Thoman is an outstanding teacher of mathematics,” he said. “In addition to her classroom teaching excellence, she has also been recognized at an elite level for her coaching of our boys and girls tennis teams. She is a leader by example. She has successfully helped lead her students and athletes toward self-discipline, a strong work ethic and commitment to academic excellence. Ms. Thoman represents the very best qualities that we hope to see in our professional colleagues. Whether in the classroom or on the tennis courts, she is a wonderful role model of honor, integrity, academic excellence and the highest ideals of sportsmanship.”

I have very dedicated players who put a lot of time and effort into improving their game. They are also great students who strive to do their best each day. I am impressed with the passion of the players and their love of the game. Every time we get players to state, that is a big accomplishment.

Erin Thoman, OTHS boys and girls tennis coach

Thoman graduated from OTHS and then earned her degree in secondary education math from McKendree University. She currently is working on her master’s at McKendree.

In high school, Thoman was one of the valedictorians for the OTHS Class of 2005, Honorable Mention All-State Doubles in 2004, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scholar Athlete in 2005 and OTHS Co-Citizenship Award Winner in 2005.

After high school, Thoman played tennis at McKendree and her senior year advanced to Nationals in doubles. She also graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Thoman is a life-long O’Fallon resident and still resides there.

MEET ERIN THOMAN:

Do you have words you live by?

“The golden rule.”

Whom do you most admire?

“My parents—they are always there for me and taught me how important it was to give back.”

If you could spend time with a famous person—past or present—whom would it be and why?

“I would choose to spend time with my grandpa Jack Costello who I never got to meet because he was deceased before I was born (he’s famous in our family).”

What do you do for fun and relaxation?

“Hang out with family and friends, play tennis, shopping and I love to be at a pool in the summer!”

What’s the usual state of your desktop?

“Organized.”

What did you want to do career-wise when you were growing up?

“Be a teacher.”

What do you think is your most outstanding characteristic?

“Positive attitude.”

What irritates you most?

“Cold weather—not my favorite.”

What type of music do you listen to?

“I like a variety of music.”

What do you like the most about your job?

“Everything.”

What do you like the least about your job?

“Nothing.”

If you were independently wealthy, what would you be doing?

“I would still be teaching and coaching, but I would be visiting a beach more often.”

When they make the movie of your life, who will play you?

“Reese Witherspoon.”

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you have with you?

“My iPhone and I would probably need some sunscreen.”

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