After eight years of working as an assistant in the program, Donell Thomas has been promoted to head coach of the Caesar Rodney High School varsity boys basketball team.

The Caesar Rodney High School boys basketball team will feature a new face on the sideline this year, and if one is wondering who it is, just look up.

New Head Coach Donell Thomas, who stands at 6 feet, 8 inches, has taken over for former coach Freeman Williams, who had to step down to pursue an administrative role in the district.

Thomas has been an assistant in the Rider program for the last eight years and brings quite an impressive basketball resume to the table that includes semipro playing experience in both the area and abroad in Cypress, as well as a short stint running the floor with the Harlem Globetrotters.

The new CR coach spoke with the Dover Post on Nov. 23 to discuss what he plans on bringing to the program.

Q How has the transition been with the team to a new coach?
A To be honest with you, things have been OK. It’s a learning process. Not that they have to learn somebody brand new it’s actually just learning a somewhat new system. It’s some of the things from before but it’s just getting used to me and some of the terminology.

Q So what is it that’s changed?
A Basically just some of the calls. Ever since I’ve been here [as an assistant coach] we’ve been constant about playing strong defense. I’m revving that up even more. So it’s more the terminology of things, just trying to keep the same stuff with a twist. There’s a learning curve right now.

Q So what’s your philosophy?
A I’ve been preaching taking care of the details and the small stuff. If you take care of the small things then the big things will just fall into place.

Q How would you describe yourself as a coach?
A I’m more vocal than Coach Williams was. Energy wise, I’m the same. I’m a bit more seen on the sidelines but at 6’8” that’s not that hard. Between Coach Williams and I though, we both don’t sit down. We always make sure we’re visible so the kids can draw off our energy. At times, I’m sweating there like I’m actually playing in the game. Even right now, when I’m instructing, I’m outspoken, my whistle is blowing, I’m teaching and refining what they already know with Coach Williams.

Q Has it been an easier transition since the kids have had you as an assistant coach?
A Absolutely, with the kids they’re not trying to learn a person and their style. They already know me. It’s been a seamless transition.

AGE 40
HOMETOWN Philadelphia
HIGH SCHOOL Strawberry Mansion High School, North Philadelphia, class of 1988
COLLEGE Delaware State University, bachelor’s in recreation, minor in sociology, class of 1996
EMPLOYER John S. Charlton School
FAMILY Wife, Jerlia, one daughter and two stepsons

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