DOVER — Colin Thomas was just a kid when he joined Dover High’s football coaching staff eight years ago.
He’s spent the time since then learning the ropes of being an offensive coordinator.
Now the 30-year-old Thomas is ready to try his hand with a bigger high school program.
Thomas recently accepted a job as the offensive coordinator at Liberty High, a school of 2,150 students in Peoria, Arizona.
The school, which opened in 2006, is planning to expand to as many as 3,000 students in the next few years.
“It’s an opportunity to kind of move up a little bit,” said Thomas, who will also be the quarterback coach. “It’s very exciting. At the same time, it’s a little nerve-wracking as well — leaving somewhere where you’re comfortable and feel good about.
“But I’m still young and don’t have kids yet and all that. I just felt like if you’re going to make that kind of big move, now was kind of the time.”
Dante Jones, who will be starting his third season as the Senators’ head coach this fall, said he hates to see Thomas leave. But he also understands why he took the job.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for him,” said Jones. “He’s a great young coach with a great mind. The sky’s the limit. ... Football is king (in Arizona). It’s a great place for him at this stage of his career.”
Dover made the DIAA Division I state tournament twice with Thomas on staff. The Senators averaged 32.4 points per game when they reached the state semifinals in 2013.
Thomas, the son of retiring Capital School District superintendent Dr. Michael Thomas, had a reputation for going to football clinics and watching lots of film as he learned how to coach.
“He puts in the time,” said Jones. “His attention to detail — he’s just a student and a sponge of the game of football.”
Thomas was also an assistant coach for Dover’s baseball program, which reached the state semifinals the last three seasons.
“Telling the kids is the hardest part,” he said. “All those kids have done is work as hard as they can possibly work for you.”
Jones said he’s close to hiring a replacement for Thomas. He does plan on staying with the spread offense.
The Senators open the season with a Sept. 11 game at Dunbar. Md. High.
“We’ll narrow it down and make the best fit for Dover High,” said Jones.
Sports editor Andy Walter
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