The city of Coppell, Texas, will honor Dr. Emmet C. (Tom) Thompson II during the city's annual Tom Thompson Appreciation Day celebration on January 12, 2020. The annual celebration commemorates the author, coach and NCAA record breaker's accomplishment of November 14, 2009, when he became both the oldest football player in NCAA history and the oldest NCAA football player to score a point.
At 61, Thompson was kicking his way into the record books by scoring the PAT (Point After Touchdown) in the second quarter of the game between Austin College and Trinity University. Ronnie Gage, head coach of the Austin College Kangaroos and a Texas high school football legend, stood on the sidelines and watched the football sail between the uprights.
That kick thrust both Thompson and Gage into the national media spotlight, with coverage by outlets including CBS and NBC News and Sports, ABC and Fox News, ESPN, Associated Press, CNN, MSNBC, Sports Illustrated, and more.
While Thompson's game-winning kick made history and put tiny Austin College on the sports media map, the event was never designed to be a publicity stunt. In fact, Coach Gage didn't even like Thompson at first, and assumed he was "a wacko with an agenda" for wanting to play college football at 60. But as the season wore on, Coach Gage realized Thompson's heart was in the right place.
"There are plenty of football players with exceptional talent," Coach Gage explains. "But sometimes you scout a player who is an inch too short or 1/10th of a second too slow, but they have heart... they have passion. If it comes down to a choice between talent or heart, I'll go with the heart every time. That's one thing I learned about Tom Thompson--he had talent, but he also had heart."
The NCAA record breaker has since teamed up with his former college football coach to deliver The Life Coach, a new book that is part inspirational memoir, part Texas football history, and part motivational guide for leaders.
The Life Coach released on October 1, 2019, from Clovercroft Publishing, and is distributed to the trade by Ingram Content Group, the world's largest distributor of printed content. For more information on Thompson and The Life Coach, visit 91kick.com, or like on Facebook (facebook.com/91kick), Instagram (instagram.com/91kick), or Twitter (@91kick).
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