Coach Derryck “DT” Thomas
When it comes to winning, Derryck Thomas excels both on and off the field. Thomas, who goes by DT, is Director of Football Programs and Vice President for the West 7 Rams of Detroit PAL. Thomas’s own son also played for the Rams and T-Ball for PAL. Thomas has been apart of Detroit PAL for nearly 20 years. As a former PAL player, he understands the impact of Detroit PAL through out the city. “The community where our team is based needs us… We have to be men and role models in the community.”
DT is a Mumford High School graduate and former football and basketball player. DT is a 17 year Detroit Homicide Detective. As a homicide detective, Thomas saw first hand the negative sides of the city and used those experiences as motivation to continue his work in the community. “It’s not so much the winning or football or cheer…as a homicide detective I saw the killings and murder. So I said if I can catch them early from that life then maybe I won’t have to deal with them in my profession. If I can save one child then I think I have done my job!”
Since DT has been with Detroit PAL and the Rams for nearly 20 years, he has been involved in many success stories regarding the children and parents, and volunteers. DT makes sure every element of his team is taken care of, all that are coaches, football players and the cheerleaders. “Every kid is equal. We treat them the same…We also make sure we nurture our young ladies.”Thomas understands the importance of every element of his program thriving. He does not stop at only impacting the youth, but he is also very hands on with his coaching staff. He notes “I try to instill character into my coaches so I can get it [character] put into my kids. My program works for adults as well as children.” DT prides himself on being hands on in the success of his organization as a whole. “The Rams are a family.”
DT’s list of accomplishments are endless. Thomas has players who went on to play in high school state championships, for college in Rosebowls and even in the NFL. But DT counts any amount of productivity in the community as a win. Regardless if those from his program went on to become a Chrysler worker or fireman or stay at home mother, DT sees it as a sign of success.
When asked of the constant success of his program, DT referenced the unison of his team. “One team, one family, one goal.” Thomas and the West 7 Rams work to gain respect for their work on the field and in the communities. “In the community we are a pillar. Everybody knows who we are. Everybody respects the program. Even the thugs respect the program…”
DT accepts the challenge of sustaining a winning organization as well as uplifting the city of Detroit. And with the help of Detroit PAL and the West 7 Rams, DT will continue to be a trailblazer in this community.