After 35 years at University of Lynchburg, Dr. Jack Toms ’69 announced that he will retire this summer having served 26 years as the school’s athletic director.
Since he assumed leadership as athletic director in the summer of 1989, University of Lynchburg has won more than 100 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championships, an unrivaled mark. Hornet teams have earned more than 40 trips to the NCAA Tournament over the same time period.
In 2010, the LC men’s soccer team played in the NCAA Division III championship game a year after the women’s soccer team powered its way to the national semifinals. The Hornet softball team competed in the Division III World Series in 2008 while Ricky Flynn was crowned the national champion in cross country after a record-breaking 2009 campaign. Other Hornet teams bring home numerous conference titles annually.
A total of 170 student-athletes have earned All-American honors in Toms’ tenure as AD – and the average in the last 10 years has risen to six to eight annually.
Dr. Toms has also overseen expansion in all areas of the athletic department including a growth in staff, coaches, budgets, athletic training services, and facilities. Shellenberger Field was revamped in 2006, which added new features such as a large, artificial turf field, a new eight-lane track, and increased spectator capacity of 3,000. Upgrades also took place at Fox and Moon Fields, along with refurbished practice fields.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my career at University of Lynchburg,” said Dr. Toms. “It was a tough decision to retire after spending most of my life at LC, but it was time. I want to thank everyone that makes University of Lynchburg special, the current and former student-athletes, coaches, parents, fans, and administrators.”
One of the most decorated coaches in the country, Dr. Toms retired from coaching in the spring of 2010. He is the most successful coach in the history of LC athletics, with 68 conference and 26 NCAA Regional Coach of the Year awards, and transformed the LC runners into a nationally competitive program. He was recognized in 1995 as the Commonwealth of Virginia’s top track and field coach with the Walt Cormack Award from the Virginia Military Institute for success at the college level. Dr. Toms was inducted into the University of Lynchburg Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame on December 15, 2010.
Having coached the track and field teams for 31 years, Dr. Toms never had a year in which he did not qualify an individual or team for the NCAA national meet. He produced 88 All-Americans and 12 National Champions. His men’s track & field teams swept the conference indoor and outdoor competitions in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010, with squads winning by large margins. He had 27 indoor and outdoor track sweeps and his teams won 38 of the last 41 league titles, and he has mentored the Regional and NCAA MVP. Dr. Toms mentored three National Athletes of the Year as well as the national champion in cross country in 2009.
In addition, Dr. Toms served as head women’s cross country/track and field head coach for nine years. His women’s indoor and outdoor teams won 12 out of 18 ODAC titles with nine All-Americans along the way. The College’s outdoor track and field complex has been named after Dr. Toms for the national attention he has brought to the school.
A 1969 graduate of University of Lynchburg, he was the track & field team’s MVP twice in his collegiate days and was the captain for three years. He has achieved the rank of full professor in the school of health science and human performance. Dr. Toms earned his master’s degree from the University of Virginia and his doctorate from West Virginia University. He and his wife, Theresa, have two sons, Nathan and David.