Thomas Named Head Coach

Althea Thomas ushers in new era for Vanderbilt cross country and track and field

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Althea Thomas, one of the top assistant coaches in the nation, was named Vanderbilt’s director of cross country and track and field on Thursday as announced by Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director Candice Lee.

“I’m honored and excited to be joining Vanderbilt University as the director of cross country and track and field,” Thomas said. “Vanderbilt is a triple threat with an amazing city, prestigious university and the best conference in the country. I truly believe it is the best kept secret in the SEC. I want Vanderbilt to gain a tangible identity of resiliency, hard work and tenacity, and I know that will make us successful in the long run.” 

Thomas brings 18 years of coaching experience to Nashville, including three stops in the SEC with the last four seasons spent at Georgia. She most recently served as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the Bulldogs where she led the men’s and women’s sprints, hurdles and relays.  

The 2021 USTFCCCA South Region Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year, Thomas has coached two individuals to NCAA titles, two NCAA East Regional champions, 16 conference champions and 30 All-Americans. 

“Coach Thomas is highly respected in the track and field community with a deep commitment to developing student-athletes both athletically and academically,” Lee said. “Her integrity, coaching pedigree and experience in the SEC made her the ideal candidate to lead our cross country and track and field programs.”

During her time in Athens, Thomas guided her student-athletes to 39 top-10 marks in the school record book, including 11 program records and one NCAA East Regional record.   

Before her tenure at Georgia, Thomas spent four years as the recruiting coordinator and assistant track and field coach at Clemson where she coached four ACC relay champions, three ACC individual champions, two All-America relay teams, and a USA Junior champion along with 22 All-ACC student-athletes. The Tigers swept the women’s ACC indoor and outdoor team titles in 2015.

While at Purdue in 2012-13, Thomas developed 10 Boilermakers who combined for nine all-time top-5 marks, three school records, a Big Ten individual title and a second-team All-America award. 

Thomas also was an assistant coach at Kentucky from 2010 to 2012 after two years at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While in Lexington, she coached two All-Americans, including Olympian Jenna Martin. 

Thomas began her coaching career as a volunteer student assistant at LSU in 2003-04 and then served as assistant coach at Huffman High School (Ala.) from 2004 to 2006 and head coach for the Alabama Striders Track Club from 2005 to 2010.

As a student-athlete at LSU, Thomas was a member of two NCAA outdoor team championships (2000, 2003). She was a provisional NCAA qualifier in the 800 meters and a national qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles in 2003.

Thomas is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from LSU in 2004.