Change of Leadership Going Into The '24 Season

by Brock Kerr

The Southwest Kansas Storm has officially wrapped up the 2023 football season. After the conclusion of the conference playoffs, player exit interviews, and ownership meetings, there has been a decision to make a change in leadership. 

We would like to thank Coach Venson for all his effort and hard work during his time with the franchise. He always represented himself as a true professional, and he is a wonderful asset to our community. 

After taking a few weeks to review resumes from candidates all over the country and conducting several interviews, the Southwest Kansas Storm football ownership group is excited to announce the hire of Gary Thomas as our new Head Football Coach. 

Coach Thomas brings a wealth of experience and success with him in the football and business world. He coached 20 total seasons of college football and finished his head coaching career with a record of 49 wins and 37 losses. He most recently served as the Head Football Coach at Dodge City Community College from 2013 through 2018, having created one of the most winning  spans in the 87- year history of DC3 Football. In his six years as the leader of Conqs. They finished 3nd in the nationally recognized Kansas Jayhawk Conference, in 2015 he led them to a conference championship…the 1st conference championship since 1983, and one of only six program history. That team also tied the school record for wins in a season with nine, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1962. His Conq teams finished the season in the top 20 of the NJCAA national football poll three times and qualified for two NJCAA bowl games. During his time at the helm, Coach Thomas was voted the Kansas Jayhawk Conference Coach of the Year two times and coached 8 NJCAA All Americans. He has had numerous former players go on to have successful professional aging careers, including having a player on an NFL roster for eight consecutive seasons and two Super Bowls, the #6 overall pick in the Canadian League following professional leagues…3 NFL, 2 CFL, 2 USFL, 1 XFl, 4 IFL, 4 CIF, and 3 competing in various European Leagues. Coach Thomas finished his tenure with the Conqs as the 3rd coach with the most wins in program history and holds the highest winning percentage among that group. 

When asked what intrigued him about the opportunity to lead the Storm Coach Thomas said, ”After talking with owners and hearing their vision for the direction of the franchise, it’s clear that they are very motivated. I was impressed with the internal structure of the operations that are  already in place, and their willingness to accommodate the things that I know will be necessary to be successful. I intend to hire a coaching staff of local, qualified, organized, like-minded, and extremely competitive individuals, and assemble a roster that will compete and execute at a level that our fam base can be proud of. I want to thank the ownership group for this very unique opportunity. I look forward to bringing my structure and innovation to the franchise and helping to bring their vision to reality. It’s going to be a fun ride!"