Dennis E. Thomas Life Skills Program makes its way to Alcorn

More efforts to strengthen the academic, professional and personal well-being of Alcorn State University’s student athletes will be the focal points of its latest initiative.

Alcorn is bringing the Dr. Dennis Thomas Life Skills Program to student athletes on campus to develop and prepare them for success while in college and for life after college by utilizing academic, athletic and community resources. The Program aims to enhance the quality of life and the student athlete experience by fostering the development of the whole person.

Thomas, a Heidelberg, Mississippi native and Alcorn alumnus, has served as commissioner of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) for the last 15 years. Under his leadership, the MEAC has ensured its financial stability, strengthened institutional compliance and been instrumental in securing corporate partnerships with nationally recognized brands such as Coca-Cola, ESPN, National Football League and Nike. Thomas also played a significant role in the establishment of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge and the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, which brings together the football champions of the MEAC and SWAC for a nationally televised postseason showdown in Atlanta, Georgia.

While at Alcorn, Thomas, who started his collegiate career at age 16, went on to become the first and only offensive lineman to be named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. He finished his collegiate career as a three-year letterman at Alcorn, a two-time Pittsburgh Courier First Team All-American, First Team Black Mutual Sports Network All-American and the Outstanding College Athlete of America. He helped lead the Braves to a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship in 1970.

Thomas also coached under his former coach, Marino “The Godfather” Casem. During his coaching tenure, the Braves won SWAC Championships in 1976, 1979 and 1984.

Assistant Vice President for Athletic Compliance and Academic Services, Jason Cable, thinks highly of Thomas. He believes that Thomas is a positive example for students to model their academic and professional careers after.

“Dr. Dennis Thomas embodies the characteristics that we want each of our student athletes on campus to represent,” said Cable. “We are excited to name our student athlete life skills program in honor of Dr. Thomas.”

“I am very grateful to Alcorn State for having this program named in my honor,” Thomas said. “I am pleased to see my alma mater further the total development of its student athletes and prepare them for a bright future. I look forward to seeing how these student athletes utilize the Life Skills Program.”

The Life Skills Program is molded after the Total Person Project established by Dr. Homer Rice, who serves as the athletics director at Georgia Institute of Technology. The project stemmed from Rice’s belief that excellence is a result of a balanced life.

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