Recently South Carroll High School made the decision to let go of their JV Girls Basketball Coach (Coach Tommy Thompson). It appears that many parents and community members are not happy with this decision of the school.
An online petition was started 2 days ago and has already grown to more than 600 signatures. Here is a link to the petition calling on the school to “to reconsider this decision and reinstate Coach Tommy to his position as the JV girls basketball coach”: https://www.change.org/p/bring-back-coach-tommy
Here is text from the online petition:
We, the undersigned members of the South Carroll High School community, are writing to express our deep concern and disappointment about the recent decision to let go of Coach Tommy Thompson from the JV girls basketball program.
Coach Tommy is the most dedicated coach we have ever had the pleasure of working with. He gives more of his own personal time and effort than anyone else at the school to the girls in the basketball program. He cares about their growth as basketball players and as individuals. He teaches them perseverance, composure, dedication, the importance of effort, good sportsmanship, how to win and more importantly that losing is learning. While he is loud on the sideline shouting instructions, he is gentle and kind when giving individual instructions to the players coming off the court or sitting on the bench.
The girls love him, respect him, and play hard for him. He brings out the best in each one of them. We could not ask for a better coach! Other than the parents, no one at the school cares more about our girls than him.
It is unfortunate that the school has chosen to let go of Coach Tommy for reasons that are incomprehensible to us. We believe that this decision is not in the best interest of the students or the school community. The girls in the program are the ones who are truly being hurt in this situation. They are not going to have the same outstanding program moving forward. They are losing someone who is very important to them and being cheated out of a vision they had for their high school basketball experience. Unfortunately, the girls in the program haven’t been considered at all in the process. Coach Tommy worked with many of them for years prior to them getting to high school and this is profoundly upsetting to them.
We urge the school to reconsider this decision and reinstate Coach Tommy to his position as the JV girls basketball coach. The students in the program deserve to have a coach who is passionate, dedicated, and cares about their growth both on and off the court. It is our belief that Coach Tommy is the best person to fill that role.
We respectfully request that you take our concerns into consideration and act in the best interests of the students and the school community.
The Observer had a phone conversation with Coach Thompson on May 5th to learn a little more about the situation. An online interview or in person interview may be scheduled early next week in order to provide the community with some additional information directly from Coach Thompson and possibly others in the community (if parents or community members are interested in discussing the situation – contact me).
The Observer reached out to the Athletic Director at South Carroll High School (Tim Novotny) via phone/voicemail on May 5th but has not received a returned call as of the time of this article.
Along with the online petition, The Observer has been forwarded more than a dozen letters of support for Coach Thompson that were sent to Board of Education members and/or the Principal of South Carroll High School (Christina Dougherty). I am not going to share all of those letters here in this article but thought I would share the one Coach Thompson sent to the Board of Education on May 4, 2023:
My name is Tommy Thompson and up until yesterday, I was one of the girls basketball coaches at South Carroll High School. Yesterday I was let go and the reason given was that “it’s all too much”. I was told that it was too much that I encouraged the girls to compete and win at the JV level, purchased uniforms for the JV girls (which was pre-approved by the Athletic Director) at my own expense and purchased Hudl assist for the girls JV team. I was told it was also too much that I created the Holiday tournament sanctioned by MPSSA to provide additional opportunities for local JV girls teams. I’m writing today because I’m not sure why these would be grounds for termination. I’m also not sure why it’s ok to celebrate all of the boys teams when they are competitive or only play their top players in an effort to win but it’s frowned upon for girls teams. This past season South Carroll’s JV girls basketball had a roster of 13 girls, we did not make cuts in an effort to build a larger, stronger program. Every single girl on that team improved throughout the season and played meaningful minutes. No girls were left behind and through hard work and dedication that team pulled off a 22 win season.
I have worked tirelessly for the past 12 years in order to advance and grow the girls program at South Carroll. I have missed time with my family and invested everything I have into it for the girls because of my love of the sport and my drive to improve the program and its players. It’s frustrating that still at every turn I hear, it’s only girls basketball, it’s only JV, and less is more. These comments came from game officials, varsity coaches and the AD and it’s simply not ok. Publicly we tell the girls you are equal and just as important as the boys. We say this yet the boys get the primetime game slots year after year, JV games are rushed or poorly officiated to make sure the varsity games start on time. The system is broken and we as parents have a responsibility to do better. My goal after all of these years has not changed, to make this program the best that it can be by bringing girls up through JV as strong and confident players, who then can take it to the varsity level and shine. No matter how hard I try and no matter how much I am doing for the girls and the program, I am shot down because the leadership in athletics at South Carroll and in the basketball program do not agree with my drive. My methods are structured and consistent and if you ask my players or their parents they will tell you the same.
I have included the parents of my team so that they may share their opinions with you. Their children’s welfare is what I fear is at stake. My daughter is graduating this year, so I have survived this unfortunate toxic environment. I believe we all have the same goal here, that is to make South Carroll basketball the best that it can be with happy, strong, confident girls.
I had hoped to stay on the coaching staff for South Carroll girls basketball for many years to come. This all comes as a shock to me and is beyond disappointing. Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say. I look forward to hearing from you.
Parents please chime in with your own opinion.
NHFS certified coach
USA WEIGHTLIFTING licensed coach
Jr. NBA Gold coach
WBCA associate coach
SOUTH CARROLL H.S
Winfield Girls Travel Coordinator
Carroll County Cougars Director
In 2022/2023 the JV Girls Basketball program at South Carroll had a VERY successful season with an official record of 19-3 finishing the best in the county at the JV level for girls basketball: Source
So I think it is safe to say that letting go of Coach Thompson was not on the basis of performance of the team.
More information will be provided as additional details are obtained.