Track & Field
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 James Thomas
James Thomas

Position:
Assistant Coach - Jumps, Vaults and Multi-Events

Years at UK:
6th Year


What was then is not now. Entering his sixth season with Kentucky, UK assistant coach James Thomas has built Kentucky into a league and national competitor in jumps, vaults and multi-events. Bringing in top athletes from across the country, Thomas' group has had five record-breaking years in a row, Southeastern Conference champions and All-Americans.

Combined events athletes in the SEC and national stage
James Thomas by the numbers:

  • 5 seasons at Kentucky
  • 2 individual SEC champions
  • 4 NCAA All-Americans
  • 15 SEC point scorers (5 All-SEC)
  • 10 additions to the UK All-Time top-10 list
  • 7 school record holders
  • 3 freshman school record holders

Highlights:
Precious Nwokey - Current UK indoor (4,185 points) and outdoor (5,543 points) school record holder in the pentathlon; 2011 SEC indoor pentathlon champion; Three-time All-American.

Ashley Trimble - 2009 SEC pentathlon champion; Indoor All-American; Finished 7th at 2011 USA indoor pentathlon; Holds an indoor pentathlon PR of 4,102 points, and an outdoor heptathlon PR of 5,530 points.

Danielle Sampley - Current indoor (3,704 points) and outdoor (5377 points) UK freshman record holder; NCAA outdoor heptathlon qualifier; 2008 USA World Junior team member; Named All-SEC twice; 2008 SEC All-Freshman team.

Horizontal & Vertical Jumps on the SEC & National Stage
James Thomas by the numbers:

  • 5 seasons at Kentucky
  • 1 SEC champion
  • 4 individual All-Americans
  • 14 NCAA national qualifiers
  • 53 additions to the UK All-Time top-10 list
  • 10 school records
  • 8 freshman school records

Highlights:
Kentucky High Jumpers
Grant Lindsey - 2008 NCAA Championship runner-up in the high jump (7 feet, 5 inches); SEC and Mideast Regional Outdoor Champion; UK varsity and freshman outdoor record holder; 2008 USA Olympic Trials qualifier.

Thomas' women high jumpers have been a consistence force in the event. Victoria Dunlap took home the SEC Championship bronze medal in 2008. In 2011, Terri-Ann Grant (5 feet, 10 inches) and Precious Nwokey (5 feet, 9.5 inches) competed together at the NCAA East Preliminary round. Grant narrowly missed competing at the final site based on misses after her clearance of 5 feet, 10 inches.

Kentucky Long Jumpers
Derrick Locke - 2008 SEC Indoor Freshman Field Athlete of the Year; Narrowly missed winning an Indoor SEC Championship by one inch with a leap of 25 feet, 5.25 inches; 2008 NCAA Indoor All-American.

Danielle Sampley made a name for herself as one of the nation's premier long jumpers, with a freshman campaign that boasted a season-best 20 feet, 5 inches.

Precious Nwokey was Thomas's fourth athlete over the 20-foot barrier in 2011, with a leap of 20 feet, 3.5 inches at the Tyson Invitational.

Kentucky Triple Jumpers
In 2011, Kentucky was one of three schools to have three male competitors qualify for the Outdoor NCAA Championships preliminary round. Keenan Hall (52 feet, 0.5 inch), David Banks (51 feet, 5.5 inches), and Steve Crouse (50 feet, 4.5 inches).

In 2010, Ke'Undra Bishop led the women's triple jumpers with an indoor season personal-best and NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 41 feet, 8 inches.

Kentucky Pole Vaulters
An event that was rarely contested at Kentucky before Thomas' arrival in 2007, Kentucky now consistently has pole vaulters scoring in the SEC and representing the Wildcats in the NCAA Championship. Thomas has placed five athletes in SEC scoring position while sending three onto the national championships to represent the Wildcats. Most recently, Shelby Kennard (12 feet, 11.5 inches) and Samantha Stenzel (12 feet, 10 inches) were NCAA East Preliminary qualifiers in 2011.

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