DISTINGUISHED MENTOR AWARD
THOMAS SPANN was born in Brooklyn NY where he participated in track and football at Thomas Jefferson High school. As a high school student-athlete, he learned the value a good coach could have on a young person’s life. Since then, he has worked continuously to improve his coaching strategies and to have a positive, life-long impact on his student-athletes. Thom exemplifies the best qualities of an educator, coach, and mentor. He is an outstanding model of professionalism and leadership within athletics
Thom earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of RI and began his coaching career as an assistant and football coach at S. Kingstown High School and later became the assistant football coach at N. Kingstown High School. He was the head coach for the N. Kingstown girls’ track team from 1979 to 1981. In 1983 Thom assumed the head track and field coach responsibilities at Hope High school in Providence, Rhode Island until he retired in 2021
In 1992, he became the first coach in RI to have coached his boys’ and girls’ teams to win both indoor and outdoor state championships. During his coaching career, he has been named Coach of the Year 11 times by the Rhode Island Track Coaches Association. The members of his track teams have broken 47 state records, of which 12 are still standing.
Thom has been involved in youth athletics in the City of Providence and he consistently supports all the athletic teams at Hope High School. He is a highly respected member of the RI track and field community and has had a major positive effect on the students at Hope High School. In addition to being Hope’s indoor and outdoor track coach for both the boys’ and girls’ teams, he was head coach of the Johnson and Wales University men’s cross country team from 1994 to 2013. Since 1981, Thom has been the head coach of the Providence Cobras youth team.
Thomas Spann was born in Brooklyn, NY, son of Thomas and Mariah Spann. Father of 5 and grandfather of 8. He is an avid cyclist and runner and is enjoying retirement since 2021.
Thomas' history of employment and accomplishments:
• South Kingstown High School Assistant Football Coach ~ 1978 - 79.
• North Kingstown High School Assistant Football Coach; Head Coach for Girls Track and Field ~ 1979 -1981.
• Hope High School Assistant Football Coach 1983 - 1985.
• Head Coach for Boy’s and Girl’s Track and Field at Hope High School 1983 - 2021.
• Founder of the Girls Track Team at Hope, both teams won 8 state championships and member of the track team have broken 47 state records of which 12 are still standing.
• Voted Coach of the Year 11 times.
• Helped hundreds of youth receive college scholarships.
• Coach the Providence Cobras Youth Track Team 1981 - Present.
• Our program gives the youth in the city of Providence and the surrounding area the opportunity to participate in Track and Field at an early age (6-18), which helps open up the door for opportunities for them in the future.
• Head Cross Country Coach at Johnson and Wales University 1994 - 2013.
• The team won 7 Conference Championships.
• Voted coach of the year twice.
• Director of the Chat Brown Community Center 1981-1994.
• Worked to establish programs to improve the quality of life for the tenants and also help raise thousands of dollars to renovate the community center and playground. The tenants honored me by naming a street in my name, Thomas Spann Way.
• Founder of the Providence Midnight Basketball League.
• Director of the Vincent Brown Recreation Center 1995 - 2021.
• Worked to provide quality after-school, evening, and summer programs for the youth on the East side of Providence.
• United Parcel Service 1979 - 2019.
• For 40 years, I worked part-time on the preload Shift from 4 am to 9 am.
• Member of the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay Team
• Member of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Hall of Fame.
• Member of the Rhode Island Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
• Member of the University of Rhode Island Athletic Hall of Fame
• Member of the Providence Recreation Department Hall of Fame.
• Member of the Thomas Jefferson High School Wall of Fame.
• 2014; New Balance Indoor Track National Coach of the Year.
• Member of the Mt. Hope Community Baptist Church
• Trustee Board
• Usher Board
• Board Member, Justice Assistance
• Member of the Ronald McDonald House Running Club
• Friendship OG Bike Club
• Road Runners Bike Club
• Tri-State Cycling Club