Thomas, 93, died Sunday after a lengthy illness.
Thomas was a student, coach, professor and administrator at Northwestern State.
He served as vice president for academic affairs at Northwestern State from 1968 until 1978. During his tenure as vice president, Northwestern State became a university, consolidated its nursing programs in Shreveport and added associate degree and master’s programs in nursing. Thomas was also involved in planning academic facilities including the Teacher Education Center, Bienvenu Hall, Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library and the Health and Human Performance Building. While Thomas served as vice president, Northwestern State opened its Leesville-Fort Polk campus.
After retiring, Thomas held teaching positions at the University of North Texas and Tulane University. In 1987, Thomas was named vice president emeritus. He was inducted into the NSU Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line, in 1993. The College of Education and Human Development named him to its Hall of Distinguished Educators in 2002.
In 2005, Thomas’ children established he Sadie G. and Charles F. “Red” Thomas Scholarship to benefit education majors at NSU. The scholarship honors Thomas and his wife Sadie G. Thomas.
Thomas served in the U.S. Navy from 1941 until 1945. He was head basketball coach at Bastrop High from 1945 to 1950. Thomas was head basketball coach and a member of the faculty at Northwestern State from 1950 to 1957. As head basketball coach, he led Northwestern State to two conference championships in seven seasons.
He was a full-time faculty member from 1957 to 1961 and spent the 1961-62 academic year as state supervisor in health and physical education for the Louisiana Department of Education. He rejoined Northwestern State’s faculty in 1963 as a full professor. Thomas was a professor and head of the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation from 1964 to 1966, dean of administration in 1966-67 and dean of the college in 1967-68.
While a student, Thomas was a standout basketball player and was the school’s first All-American in basketball. Thomas was selected to the Helms Hall of Fame in basketball in 1957 and was named to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1968.
Thomas is survived by his wife of 68 years, the former Sadie Grezaffi of Batchelor, La; his sister Patty Sue Moore of Hope, Arkansas; nine children, 23 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.