joe_thomasOne of the most successful gridiron coaches in Salem Community High School history, Joe Thomas was the fifth football coach inducted into the Hall of Fame. He joins fellow SCHS pigskin coaches Fred Corray, Howard Thurman, Kenny Farrar and Van Howe.

Thomas ranks third on the school list in both NEC career coaching victories with 40 and overall victories with 47. His .653 career winning percentage ranks fifth behind Kenny Farrar (.765), Chuck Budde (.711), Scott Steward (.700) and Howard Thurman (.683).

Known for his color and toughness on the field, Thomas coached at SCHS from 1959-66 and during that time guided two conference champions. His 1961 Wildcats shared the league crown with Carmi, while the 1965 team won the title outright. Twenty years would pass before Salem would win another NEC championship.

Ironically, his best team may have been the 1962 squad which went 8-1. That squad was not only two points away from a league championship, but a perfect season. Flora spoiled both with a 7-6 victory.

Three future Hall of Famers would roam the field for Thomas, quarterback Tom Horner plus running backs Rod Wells and Dale Donoho.

Thomas left SCHS in 1967 for his native Oklahoma. Thomas had been a standout baseball and football player at Pauls Valley and at Oklahoma A&M, which is now Oklahoma State. After he left Salem, Thomas guided Pauls Valley High School to a state championship, a community where he still resides.