Kickapoo High School has a new football coach and it’s Nate Thomas. The 36-year-old Nixa native takes over for Kurt Thompson, who retired last month.
Thomas spent the past two seasons as Marshfield’s head coach where he went 5-15, including 2-8 last season. He accepted the job Friday and announced to his players about his decision Monday afternoon.
“It’s one of the most difficult things you have to do as a coach,” said Thomas. “You’ve got a set of guys here that in my third year are my guys. They’ve bought in and I believe are on the verge of turning it around. It’s about as difficult as it gets.”
Thomas inherits a team that went undefeated in the Ozark Conference two years ago, reaching the Class 6 semifinals and went 9-2 last season.
“It’s a huge step. “The opportunity to be one of 32 head coaches (in Class 6) and to do it at a great school like Kickapoo, I’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
Thomas got plenty of advice from Thompson and his former high school coach Joel Wells, who he coached under at Liberty High School in the Kansas City area, and led the Chiefs prior to Thompson until 2014.
“We sat down as a family and had a long discussion. Joel and Kurt answered a lot of questions. I got a really good feeling, and it seemed like everything centered around kids. They talked a lot about having a family atmosphere over there and you pair that with the rich tradition they have in all sports, it was an opportunity not to turn down.”
Thomas was an all-state football, basketball and track standout at Nixa in the late 90’s before playing football and running track at Central Missouri. Prior to his stint at Marshfield, Thomas coached 13 years at Liberty where he most recently held the titles of assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.
He will finish the school year at Marshfield and officially take over at Kickapoo in May, where he will teach weights and conditioning.