Funeral services were conducted Monday morning for William Thompson (pictured), a postal worker and a longtime coach of the New Haven Age Group Track Club, at the Immanuel Missionary Baptist Church on Chapel Street. Click here for the obituary, and read below for remarks of appreciation on behalf of the club offered at the services and sent in by Major Ruth, a coach and colleague of William Thompson.
On behalf of the New Haven Age Group Track Club, we would like to thank the entire Thompson family for sharing such a wonderful man with all of us for 35 years. Coach Thompson made our club into a family. He loved the athletes like they were his own children. He was the heart of this track family, who will never be replaced.
For all of us, William Thompson was far more than just a coach. He was a mentor, a grandfather, friend, father figure, and an inspiration. At every practice Coach T showed his dedication in small ways that meant so much:
• He was always the first to arrive and the last to leave practice.
• He made sure there were double knots tied in each athletes shoe.
• And he made it a point to make phone calls to check on anyone who missed a practice or who were injured.
He had the vision to understand that his focus on the “little things” could have a huge impact on a child’s life.
Coach Thompson also blessed us with his sense of humor. We will miss the sound of his laughter. Because he always spread joy, even in tough times. He refused to let his own personal struggles or even health challenges get in the way of serving the team. Coach showed all of us how to look on the bright side of difficult situations and keep on going.
And lastly, we don’t measure Coach Thompson’s legacy simply in terms of the countless medals, championships, national titles and college scholarships his athletes were awarded; because Coach Thompson was not simply training athletes to perform on the track ... He was preparing young boys and girls to be respectful and responsible citizens off the track. Coach Thompson looked beyond the performance of the athlete. He never stopped until the athletes achieved what he expected of them. And that was for them to do their very best.
So,, whether kids were doing a practice run or competing at a meet, Coach T would always tell them to “finish strong!!!”
Now that he has crossed the finish line of life, we know that Coach Thompson did just that. He finished strong. And this is why we will always cherish and remember Coach T. the man I call “mi padre.”