A native of San Antonio, Texas, Coach Thomas was a decorated multi-sport high school athlete who was recognized as a Parade All-American at quarterback. After earning a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, in addition to being a member of the 1975 National Championship team, he was the starting quarterback at OU for three years, 1976 – 1978, during which the Sooners won three conference championships. Thomas was a two-time All-Conference selection.