According to the article, Ben Tomas, the head athletics coach at Virginia Tech and a proud alumnus of the university, shares his excitement and journey as a coach in an engaging interview. Having been inspired by his own coaches during his time at Virginia TechTomas knew from early on that coaching was the best job in the world for him.
When he first heard about the opportunity to become a head coach at his alma mater, Tomas felt like it was meant to be. The support he received from his mentor Dave Cianelli and the incredible administration at Virginia Tech made this long-time dream come true. Being able to help student athletes achieve their dreams and go beyond is something that fills Tomas with excitement.
Returning to campus knowing that he would be leading the program next year was an inspiring experience for Tomas. Witnessing how far the athletics program has come since its inception in 2001 filled him with pride. He credits Coach Cianelli, along with former athletic directors Jim Weaver and Whit Babcock, for their hard work in building a successful program.
When asked about his favorite memory from coaching at Virginia TechTomas mentioned each ACC championship as being special in its own way. However, winning the national title in the distance medley relay event in 2018 holds a particularly significant place in his heart. Overcoming previous second-place finishes at the NCAA championships made this victory even more special. But above all else, it’s the moments spent with athletes through challenges and triumphs that create lasting memories for Tomas.
Tomas also acknowledges several mentors who have had a profound impact on him as a coach. Dave Cianelli’s advice of staying focused and not rushing things with athletes or assistant coaches resonates deeply with him. Rod Camden from EC Glass High School instilled belief in him by saying, “I believe in you and you should too.” Robert Johnson from the University of Oregon encouraged stepping out of one’s comfort zone for improvement.
When asked about what he enjoys most about coaching, Tomas emphasizes the joy of watching his athletes grow as human beings. Witnessing their successes alongside their teammates and families brings him immense satisfaction.
Apart from coaching, Tomas loves everything about Blacksburg. The people, places, atmosphere, and even the oatmeal candy bars at Bollo’s make it a special place for him. He humorously compares it to heaven in the movie “Field of Dreams,” where Terrance asks if it is heaven, and Ray replies, “No Terrance, it’s Blacksburg.”
In his free time away from training, Tomas finds happiness in watching his kids play and perform. He also enjoys riding his bike and going on dates with his wife—dinner followed by a movie at the Lyric Theater.
Ben Tomas’ journey as a coach at Virginia Tech is filled with excitement and passion for helping student athletes succeed. His memories of victories and lessons learned from mentors shape his coaching philosophy. The love he has for Blacksburg adds an extra layer of connection to the university and its athletics program.
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