Montini basketball coach Daryl Thomas, a legendary player at St. Joseph and Indiana University, died Wednesday morning. He was 52.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that our Head Basketball Coach, Daryl Thomas, passed away from a heart attack this morning. No details are available at this time. Please keep his family and loved ones in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/nSSY8Ww0FE— Montini Catholic HS (@MontiniCatholic) March 28, 2018
Thomas was a McDonald’s All-American at St. Joseph in 1983. He played for Gene Pingatore at St. Joseph and Bobby Knight at Indiana.
“We are just devastated, it is a total shock,” Pingatore said. “In his day he was a great player, but he was a great person too.”Thomas averaged 15.7 points per game in 1987 for Indiana’s national championship winners. He scored 20 points against Syracuse in the title game.
“He was a success in everything he’s been a part of,” St. Joseph assistant coach Bill Riley, who has known Thomas since the 1980’s, said. “He brought such a huge personality to work every day. The kids adored him, the coaches thought they had a good friend, someone they could trust. He was that kind of a guy. It is a terrible loss.”
Thomas scored 1,095 points and grabbed 419 rebounds in four seasons with the Hoosiers. He was drafted by the Sacramento Kings after college and played in the NBA briefly. Thomas played pro ball in Europe for more than a decade.
“Saddened to hear of the passing of Hoosier legend and National Champion Daryl Thomas. Beloved by his teammates and coaches, our prayers go out to his wife Marta, his children, and the Montini Catholic HS community he served,” current Indiana coach Archie Miller tweeted out on Wednesday.
Thomas was an assistant coach at St. Joseph for eight years and took over as head coach at Montini in 2015.
“He was so proud to be a head coach,” Riley said. “I can’t think of anyone else in the basketball community that has touched so many lives and had so many friends. He was involved with the Bulls-Sox Academy for years and ran camps all over the western suburbs. Daryl just had the unique ability to take a child, big or small, and he could give them a hug and a smile and make them feel like everything would be ok.”
Thomas has two sons and a daughter.“He was really looking forward to coaching his son,” Pingatore said. “That is another part of it that is so sad. He has such a great family, just a great father and husband.”