MIDDLEBURY — Ronnie Thomas got accustomed to winning when he was playing basketball for Northridge High School.
As new head coach of the Raiders, Thomas hopes to keep on winning.
Thomas, a 2005 Northridge High School graduate, helped the Steve Austin-coached Raiders go 15-9 his junior season and 15-8 in his senior campaign.
“To be a head coach where I went to school is something real special,” said Thomas Tuesday after his promotion from junior varsity head coach was approved by the Middlebury Community Schools board Tuesday, June 19. “I want to continue the trend of winning here. I come from a background of winning. I plan on developing players.
“I want players that play together as a team and play hard and play tough,” he said.
Thomas, 25, is the seventh head boys basketball coach Northridge history.
The 6-foot-9 Thomas follows Jason Ridge as the lead man of the Raiders program.
Ridge, who left to become an assistant principal at Whitko High School in South Whitley, led Northridge to marks of 11-11, 14-7, 21-1, 5-16, 7-14 and 10-11 in his six seasons.
Irv Pratt was Northridge’s first coach (199-129 in 15 years), followed by Ken Pletcher (49-36 in four), Mike Lord (19-24 in two), Tom Crews (52-58 in five), Steve Austin (160-93 in 11) and Ridge (68-60 in six).
Already a part of the Northridge system and a teacher at Northridge Middle School (working with the Northridge Academy for alternative students in Grades 6-8), Thomas already knows the players.
“At Northridge, I couldn’t be more lucky to have the kids I have,” said Thomas. “I’ve been working with the kids all spring and summer. They’re awesome. I’m extremely excited to be called those guys’ head coach. They are a fantastic group to be around.”
Thomas, who is single, plans to formally meet with his players Thursday and hopes to get into some tournaments and hold some open gym sessions before the month of June is out.
Thomas Tale of the Tape
Who: Ronnie Thomas, 25.
What: New Northridge High School head boys basketball coach. Thomas was head junior varsity boys coach at Northridge in 2011-12. The season before that, he coached middle school basketball in Centerville, Ohio.
Player: The 6-foot-9 Thomas scored 735 points during career at Northridge, playing for coach Steve Austin. The Raiders won 30 games in his last two seasons. Thomas averaged 17.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game as a senior. He played one season at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and three at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, averaging 3.96 points and 2.08 rebounds in 163 total collegiate games. His older brother, 2000 Northridge graduate Aaron Thomas, scored 1,262 points as a Raider, then played at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.