Ben Thomas has been Virginia Tech’s head cross country coach and distance coach since 2001. During his time at Tech, the Hokies have emerged as contenders in not only the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA Southeast Region, but also the entire nation. Thomas is extremely familiar with the Hokie program, having competed in cross country and running middle distance events in track for Tech from 1987-92.
|1992-94||Assistant track and field coach, E.C. Glass [Va.] High School|
|1994-95||Assistant cross country coach, Blacksburg [Va.] High School|
|1995-99||Head women's cross country and assistant track coach, Appalachian State|
|1999-2000||Head track and field and cross country coach, Brevard [N.C.] College|
|2000-01||Assistant track and field coach, University of Georgia|
|2001-current||Head cross country and distance coach, Virginia Tech|
Thomas’ runners enjoyed a tremendous 2015-16 season. Thomas Curtin won the individual ACC cross country championship and also won two other races (the NCAA Pre-National meet and the NCAA Southeast Regional). Behind Curtin, the Tech men’s cross country squad received an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships – just its second NCAA appearance since 1987. The Hokies finished 27th as a team and Curtin finished 22nd, earning All-America honors.
During the outdoor track and field season, Curtin claimed gold in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs at the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, helping the Tech men’s team to the ACC crown. Hanna Green won two gold medals during the season, capturing the 800-meter title at the ACC’s indoor and outdoor meets.
Curtin earned All-America honors in all three disciplines during the 2015-16 season (cross country, indoor track and outdoor track). Curtin, Green and three other distance runners – Neil Gourley, Patrick Joseph and Shannon Morton – all captured All-America honors during the season. Curtin departed Tech with six ACC championships and seven All-America nods, making him the most decorated runner in Virginia Tech history. Green has won three ACC crowns and is a three-time All-American.
Such success comes as no surprise. Thomas now has coached 24 All-Americans at Tech and those 24 have combined to earn 41 All-America honors. Also, he has coached 21 conference champions since coming to Blacksburg and those 21 have combined to win 41 conference titles.
Under his leadership, the cross country programs have flourished. In 2006, the Tech women’s team made the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history and the Hokies finished 18th. The Hokie women reached the national meet following a third-place finish at the NCAA Southeast Regional behind an unprecedented five all-region performers. Two years later, he helped Tasmin Fanning to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships – the highest finish by a Tech athlete in school history.
Since then, the women’s program has been to another NCAA Championship (2014), while the men’s team won the ACC title in 2012 and has been to two NCAA Championships (2012 and 2016) under Thomas’ leadership. Will Mulherin won the ACC individual title during the 2012 season, as he and Curtin are the only two Tech runners to win an ACC individual cross country crown.
The Hokies have been just as successful in track and field during Thomas’ tenure, as the men’s and women’s programs have combined to win nine ACC team titles. In particular, the men’s team has been on a roll of late, having finished no worse than fifth place at the ACC’s indoor and outdoor meets in each of the past eight years. The men’s team won the indoor team title in 2011, 2013 and 2015 – all on its home track in Blacksburg – and won outdoor crowns in 2012 and 2016. Thomas’ runners combined to win 11 events in those five championship runs.
Thomas served as the men’s and women’s distance coach at the University of Georgia before arriving in Blacksburg. Prior to that, he was the head track and field and cross country coach at Brevard College in North Carolina. At Brevard, Thomas was named 1999 NAIA Region XII Coach of the Year after leading the men’s cross country team to the NAIA Region XII title. Before Brevard, Thomas was the women’s cross country coach and assistant track coach at Appalachian State University from 1995-1999.
A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Thomas earned a B.A. in English from Tech in 1992 before completing coursework for an M.A., in education from Lynchburg College in 1999. Thomas began his coaching career with the track and field team at E.C. Glass High School (1992-94) in Lynchburg and coaching cross country at Blacksburg High (1994-95).
Thomas, his wife, Ann McGranahan, and their children, Reilly and Seamus, reside in Blacksburg.