Remembering the ‘sports voice’ of Coshocton County

| October 12, 2018

COSHOCTON – The late Tom Thompson had a passion for high school athletics that will not be forgotten by those connected to sports in our community.

“He was whole heartedly in this for the kids,” said Matt Colvin, athletic director at Ridgewood High School.

Ridgewood has always worked play calls from WTNS into its pregame music at football games, but has recently tried to pay special attention to ones made by Thompson.

“This year and during his whole battle with cancer we plugged his calls,” Colvin said. “You’d hear his voice and think about how special of a person he is. His heart was in Coshocton County and putting the kids in athletics on a pedestal and giving them a good experience through radio.”

Thompson, who lost his battle with cancer on Oct. 6, worked at WTNS radio for 45 years, up until his death. He was the sales manager and sports director and was known as the “sports voice” of WTNS and Coshocton County.

Steve Cores worked with Thompson covering games for a total of 32 years.

“Not that long ago we were talking about how many coaches we broke in over the radio,” Cores said. “We figured in all the sports we’ve covered and came up with about 133.”

He agreed with Colvin too about Thompson being about the kids.

“Tom had a pretty firm rule when we did games that we weren’t in it to trash kids,” Cores said. “We reported what was going on and left it at that. The kids are trying as hard as they can and we try to portray that.”

He also was impressed with how well prepared Thompson was for games.

“His preparation was unbelievable,” Cores said. “People don’t realize how much time it takes to put on a decent broadcast. Tom was always prepared.”

Cores was friends with Thompson outside of work and will greatly miss him.

“He was one of my best friends,” Cores said. “How I actually got started on the radio was he talked me into going with him to a Tusky Valley vs Coshocton game in 1976. I worked at Carroll’s Men Shop and back then Main Street was hopping. You worked late and didn’t get to see a lot of Saturday night games. Whoever was suppose to go with him couldn’t so he asked me to go and do the stats. He said if I did the stats he’d do everything else. I did that for him and then at halftime he read them and looked over at me and asked what I thought about the first half. He just laughed at the look on my face and then went to a commercial. That’s how it all got started.”

That was the first of many games that Cores worked with Thompson including playoff, state tournament and state championship games and the last high school game played at St. John Arena.

Casey Claxon most recently worked with Thompson on WTNS’s Talkin’ Football program.

“I’ve always been impressed with how hard he worked and how dedicated he was,” Claxon said. “WTNS covers a lot more high school sports than most local radio stations will. Typically it’s just football and basketball, but because of leadership from Tom and the Wallace family they do a lot more than that and the community supports their quality of work.”

Claxon didn’t grow up in Coshocton, but he knows Thompson has played a role in generations of families athletic careers.

“My wife (Trista) has games (recorded) that Tom broadcasted from when she played high school volleyball back in the 80s and we have some from before Tom got sick that he did when Keith (our son) was a freshman and playing football at Ridgewood. Trista is proud of those tapes. They are special to her because she grew up here and knew Tom. A lot of families have experienced that same thing.”

A memorial service for Thompson will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Coshocton High School in the gymnasium with Pastor Sarah Juist officiating. Memorial donations may be made to the Tom Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o the Coshocton Foundation, 220 S. Fourth St. Coshocton, OH 43812; or to Hospice of Central Ohio, 2269 Cherry Valley Road SE Newark, OH 43055.

“He (Thompson) was so knowledgeable about sports in general, especially the kids in this community,” Colvin said. “He truly cared.”

Category: High School, Sports

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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