New coaches bring diversity to WSU football program

Christopher Edwards, sports reporter

This summer, Winona State University added Josh Colbert and Thomas Gary-Homes to their coaching staff.
Colbert was brought in as an assistant coach and receivers’ coach and Gary-Homes was brought in as outside linebackers’ coach and assistant coach.
Colbert and Gary-Homes live together and have a diverse background in sports.
Colbert is from Urbana, Ohio and was a multi-sport athlete in high school as he ran track, powerlifted and played strong safety for the football team.
Colbert said he was able to further his athletic career by staying in Ohio and attending Ohio Northern University.
At Ohio Northern, Colbert said he flourished by being able to stay close to home.
“I was team captain in football and then in track, I did the long jump and short sprints and I won a national championship in the long jump for Division III,” Colbert said.
Gary-Homes is from Hammond, Indiana and played fullback and middle linebacker for his high school team before heading on to Olivet College in Michigan.
He began his collegiate career as a tight end but ended up going through multiple position changes, including defensive positions in his second year.
“A lot of our inside linebackers got hurt so our coaching staff asked me to move to middle linebacker, I decided to change mid-season and it ended up being a great move for me,” Gary-Homes said.
Before joining the Warriors coaching staff, Colbert coached both track and field and football at the University of Mount Union (Ohio) and Cornell College (Iowa).
He was a well accomplished coach in both sports at Mount Union, as they won the 2017 NCAA Division III Football National Championship. In 2018 his team won the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Team Championships.
Ultimately, Colbert choose to come to Winona State when he found out there was an opening position for receivers’ coach.
Colbert said he wanted to use this coaching job as a way to get better.
“It was opportunity to move up in divisions,” Colbert said.
He also mentioned that the Warriors head coach Tom Sawyer and Winona’s winning tradition as other factors in making his decision.
Since joining the coaching staff, Colbert said he has gotten to know the players and he said they are “awesome kids” and “a really good group, especially the wide receivers”.
Gary-Holmes also coached at Cornell College and his alma mater, Olivet College, before coming to Winona State.
Since joining the coaching staff he has worked closely with the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Matt Ulrich.
Aside from working with outside linebackers, Gary-Homes works with the defensive line and is the team’s film coordinator.
Colbert and Gary-Homes also bring diverse backgrounds to the coaching staff as both are African American.
According to Colbert, bringing diversity to the program could be helpful for the African American players currently in the program.
Colbert spoke on the diversity of the team saying, “we have fewer minority players than the football programs that are out there.”
Colbert said he hopes that he and Gary-Homes can bring more diversity which he said is the goal.
Even though this season is possibly out of the question due to COVID-19, Colbert still expects a lot from the players.
Colbert said he wants “every guy to recognize the standard and hold themselves and each other and me to that standard every day, and just live it.”