Boyd Anderson High School track parents are demanding answers as to why the state championship winning coaching tandem of Duchane Thomas and her husband Damion Thomas was dismissed and won’t even be considered for the position next season.
According to a source close to the situation, Duchane Thomas was informed through a telephone conversation on May 30 she would not be retained and Boyd Anderson “going in a different direction”.
Deron Gordon, father of twin star hurdlers Daeshon and Deron Jr., said beyond producing a steady stream of All-Americans and seven consecutive top three finishes at the state finals, it was the Thomases’ system built around discipline and high academic standards which appealed the most to him.
“Daeshon and Deron are going places and it’s all because of the lady coach Duchane,” Deron Gordon said. “Duchane is a no-nonsense person, she aims for excellence every time. She took Daeshon under her wing and taught her what it takes to get to that next level. I can pick up the phone any time and talk to her. She tells it like it is. The lady coach Duchane was like a mentor to my kids.”
When contacted on Saturday for a comment on the dismissal, Boyd Anderson athletic director Patricia Davis-Twitty offered a courteous “no comment.”
Boyd Anderson has parted ways with a coaching tandem that rejuvenated a program upon their arrival in 2005 that started to wane since the departure of Hall of Fame coach David Bowden.
The Cobras turned into a sprint factory, producing the likes of All-Americans Shaquela Williams, Rebecca James, Sheila Paul, Shayla Sanders, Daeshon Gordon and Kali Davis-White as it inched closer to a state title that had proved elusive.
The breakthrough came in 2012 season when Sanders, Daeshon Gordon and Kali Davis-White brought Boyd Anderson the Class 4A crown.
During that span, the Thomases accumulated nine coach of the year awards, highlighted by the The National Federation of State High School Associations award in 2012, and helped place 26 athletes in college.
Renee Payne, the mother of hurdles standout Marissa Oglesby, said she relocated to the Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson district for the sole purpose of her daughter train in the Thomases system and enhance her track scholarship opportunities.
“I’m distraught over this,” Payne said. “I’ve spoken to other parents. We’re looking to see what we can do to fix this. I made an agreement with my daughter that I would make the switch but she had to keep her grades up. The tutelage the kids got as far as their grades, were on point. I’m just wondering what kind of “different direction” could you possibly go when you are not even a year removed from winning the state title. If it’s not broken don’t fix it.”