Fred Thomann went from standout high school basketball player to most valuable player in college to teacher and coach back on the high school level.
At 6-foot-10, Thomann was a force under the basket. He made Taylor Center High School’s varsity team as a 10th-grader and by the time he was a senior in 1960, he was on the All-State Team.
He earned a scholarship to play basketball at Michigan State University, becoming the first Division I basketball player from a Taylor high school. In 1964, his teammates selected him MVP. The next year, Thomann started teaching in the Taylor School District.
In 1968, as a rookie head coach in the varsity ranks, Thomann guided Willow Run High School to a Class B state championship. His team defeated a previously unbeaten Holland Christian team, 77-55 at the old Jenison Fieldhouse on the campus of MSU, where Thomann competed just four years earlier.
He has since coached four teams (one boy’s and three girl’s teams) to final four appearances in the state tournament. In 17 seasons of coaching boys teams and 19 seasons of coaching girls, he has compiled 640 victories.
Thomann has won several coach-of-the-year honors. In 1987, he was selected overall coach of the year by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.
Thomann, who founded an AAU program, has served as a representative on the Michigan Youth Basketball Advisory Council. He also coaches in the classroom. In 1988, he was named teacher of the year by the Wayne County Intermediate School District.