Editor's Note: Correction
In the “Thomas Returns to Stephens County as Duncan boys’ golf coach” story that published in the July 22-23, 2021, edition of the Duncan Banner, a name of one of the golfers was listed incorrectly. The correct name of the golfer is Jace Black. The Banner regrets the error and is happy to set the record straight.
After spending the last three years in Lawton, Duncan High School brought back Stephen Thomas to coach the Duncan Boys Golf team and return him to Stephens County area.
Before taking the Lawton job, Coach Thomas worked at Marlow High School for nine seasons. He started his golf coaching career there in 2009 after working as a golf professional at two courses.
After graduating from UCO, Thomas was the assistant golf professional for Oak Tree CC in Oklahoma and then came back to The Territory in Duncan to stay closer to family and to help coach junior golfers.
Duncan Athletic Director Bobby Cook said the hire of Thomas was one that came after the first three jobs of baseball, swim and wrestling opened up. He is happy to get someone like Thomas to take the job.
“We were fortunate to have him come to the program. The district was lucky because Coach Thomas has a ton of golf experience and he has kids who play sports,” Cook said. “The district was fortunate for him moving back to the area from Lawton. He is familiar with high school golf and he will take over a tradition rich program that we are all aware of and I think he will continue to help that program do what it does.”
Last year, the Duncan Demons boys’ golf team finished as runner-up in Class 5A. They have won 10 State Titles in the program’s history.
Thomas said his expectation is to help them advance further while building the team aspect of Duncan High School golf.
“My expectations for the golf program are to develop and maintain a culture that puts the team first, rather than the individual,” Thomas said. “I like to see teammates encouraging and motivating each other. Teammates that celebrate with you when you win and pick you up when you’ve had a bad day.”
One of the unique things about Duncan’s golf program includes having a partnership with Duncan Golf & Tennis Club and for Thomas, also having a close relationship with their professional Dakota Hicks.
“In my opinion, the relationship that DHS golf has with DGTC has been, undoubtedly, a huge factor in the teams success,” Thomas said. “The fact that I already have a great personal and professional relationship with Dakota Hicks and his staff will make my transition into the program much more comfortable.”
Thomas will teach at the middle school for Duncan Public Schools as that has always been where he teaches and feels like it will be beneficial to keep the growth of the program.
“When you inherit a program with established success I believe it is important to give credit to the players, their families, and the community,” Thomas said. “Duncan obviously has many talented golfers that are already putting in the work required to compete at a high level. I am looking forward to working with Baylor Bostick, Caden Stevens, and Jace Black — our three returning varsity members from the 2021 State Runner-up team — to help set the bar for work ethic and leadership within the program. I am also looking forward to working closely with the younger golfers in our program at the middle school through my role as a teacher at the middle school. Beyond that, I am looking forward to utilizing my experience to benefit each player individually, whether that means improving a players golf swing fundamentals, course management strategies, improving their mental game, and helping reach the college level through recruiting.”
The next season for Duncan Golf will come in the spring of 2022 and will begin around March as Thomas’ first season with Duncan High School.