By University of Texas Athletics Department
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas track and field legend Charlie Thomas passed away at the age of 83 on Monday, January 26 at St. Joseph Regional Health Center in Bryan.
The former star sprinter won three straight Southwest Conference Championships in the 220 yards from 1952-54 and won the AAU national title in 1954. His senior year he helped lead Texas to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championship, the best finish in Texas history at the time. In 1952, the men’s 440 yard relay team, anchored by Thomas, set a world record.
Thomas never lost a race in the 220 yards staged in the state of Texas during his career as a Longhorn. He finished fourth at the 1952 Olympic Trials following his sophomore season to miss making Team USA by one spot. Due to amateur rules, he was unable to qualify for the 1956 Olympic Games because was considered a “professional” as a track and field coach.
After his career as a Longhorn, Thomas was named the head track and field coach at East Texas State in 1956. He earned his Master’s Degree while coaching at East Texas State after graduating from Texas with a certificate as an athletic trainer. He went on to be the head coach at Texas A&M from 1958 until his retirement in 1990.
At Texas A&M, Thomas coached 22 NCAA individual champions and five Olympic medalist, three of them winning gold. More than 100 of his Aggies received All-America honors and seven of them set collegiate records during his tenure as the head coach.
Thomas joins Texas legend D.X. Bible as the only two people to be inducted into the respective hall of fame at both the University of Texas and Texas A&M. He also is a member of the Meet of Champions Hall of Fame and the Border Olympics Hall of Fame.
The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, January 30, at Memorial Funeral Chapel in Bryan. A private family graveside service will be held at a later time.