Tommy Theodose headshot

Tommy Theodose

Lane High School


Tommy Theodose became head coach of the Lane High School football team in 1959, around the time that the federal court was concluding that Virginia’s “Massive Resistance” to racial desegregation was unconstitutional. At that time, many of Theodose’s best players fled to Rock Hill Academy, a private school that did not accept African American students. Somehow, Theodose found ways to desegregate his players as well as win games. In fact, his Lane team went undefeated almost five years in a row (from 1962 to 1967). Theodose said his players “just wanted to win football games.” Theodose is remembered by many athletes, both Black and White, as eminently fair-minded, sensitive to racial discriminatory actions, and focused on building successful teams. David Sloan, who starred on Lane’s team from 1970–1972, joined Theodose in this interview to discuss how he did it.

Full Interview