Curwensville tabs former assistant coach Jimmy Thompson as new Head Coach
Written by: Billy Splain on Friday, July 12th, 2019
When the Golden Tide take the field for the first time this year, they’ll have a lot of familiar faces to lead them. Long time coach Andy Evanko won’t be there in body, but his wisdom was passed down and his staff will continue to try and put a quality product on the field. They’ll be led by former assistant coach Jimmy Thompson.
“It’s a dream come true to coach the Golden Tide. No place I would rather be coaching. The circumstances of how the job became available were the worst possible way but coach was always more than just a coach to me. He was a mentor, a father figure, and a great man. I will work my hardest to make him proud of the program that he helped raise to such a high standard.”
He spoke of his time with his mentor Evanko. “His first year was my junior year and before that he was my position coach, he coached quarterbacks and defensive backs. I played for him for three years, after that I came back and coached for him for 8 or 9 years. I coached in the jr high systems for a few years, then moved up to varsity. When Justin Marshall, he’s one of my best friends, got the coaching job at Dubois, I talked to Andy and he said “jump all over it man, you gotta take that job”. At the time I was teaching at Dubois so it made perfect sense. It’s hard to leave those kids, they got a heck of a crew coming through there.
For the last two years he has been coaching at Dubois. Starting out as co-defensive coordinator, shortly after he was promoted to defensive coordinator. “Yeah, I was over there getting after it in quad A. Some tough teams and good football” said Thompson.
As for his staff at Curwensville, why mess with what works? “Our defensive coordinator, coach Folmar, he’s phenomenal. He’s been here as long as Andy was. It’s hard to argue with a guy like him who’s been doing what he does at such a high level. He’ll have a lot of freedom to do what he does. We’ll move a couple guys around but for the most part the staff will stay in tact. Joe Bennett, he’ll be a great addition who’s coming back out after a few years off. Brad Sopic and his brother Shawn Sopic will be back.
Thompson is pictured here with the 2016 Tide Staff
Coaching is said to be “in your blood” and coach Thomson has the correct type.
“I’ve wanted to be a head coach all my life. My younger brother, when we’d play basketball or catch in the back yard he’d call me coach cause I teach him everything he did. I’m a teacher first, but coaching and teaching are the same thing. I just love football.”
The situation wasn’t ideal for him though, and with Andy still coaching in 2018 he had a choice to make if he wanted to be a head coach. “I had a talk with coach John Franco (Tyrone Head Coach) back in December when I was at Dubois and his exact quote was “well you’re either going to have to move your kids if you want to coach your own team or you’re going to have to go back to Curwensville”.
Having coached the seniors, Thompson is familiar with that class but is going to be playing catch up with the underclassmen. “The senior class I’m familiar with, they were the freshman class my last year there. The underclassmen, they were younger but they’re a great group with a good work ethic. The juniors and sophomores I’m really trying to learn who they are and what they can do.
The offense will have a little different look, but Thompson says the roots of the offense “will still be a down in the dirt, hard working team. We have a lot of skill and might spread it out a little bit, but the type of kids we have, they’re grinders.”
This is home, even though the past 11 years I was teaching at Dubois, my wife and I bought a house in Curwensville 10 years ago. Our kids go to Curwensville, it kinda felt like it was going to happen eventually. It was always my dream to come back here and coach.
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