“And Bay-Bay goes, ‘I told you guys that was a bad idea!’” Johnson said, chuckling.
The story, particularly Thomas’ role, rang true to former teammate Roddy Jones. Thomas, typically quiet, wouldn’t have been one to be the leader, “but he was loyal with his boys,” Jones said.
Johnson liked to needle Thomas about Thomas’ insistence on being from Montrose, a tiny town in Laurens County, and not from the more recognized Dublin, the county seat.
“He’d go, ‘Coach, I’m from Montrose,’” Johnson said. “I’d go, ‘Don’t nobody know Montrose. Dude, you’re from Dublin.’”
If Thomas stopped by Johnson’s office, the coach said he might ask him if he’d been back to Dublin recently, causing Thomas to again protest.
“I’d say, ‘I coached at Georgia Southern. I’ve never heard of Montrose,’” Johnson said. “He goes, ‘You come down there. I’ll show you where Montrose is.’”
Johnson’s fondness and admiration for Thomas was clear.
“I don’t know of anybody who didn’t like Bay-Bay,” Johnson said. “He was just kind of that way, and he was kind of a natural leader because he was such a talented kid, but he worked. Now, he was given a lot of God-given ability, but he worked at it.”
More of recollections from Johnson and others who knew Thomas well can be found in the story linked above.
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