The crowd erupted into cheers and applause, when the Pasco County School Board voted to name the gym at Thomas E. Weightman Middle School (TEMS), in honor of Thomas Mine, a longtime coach at the school.
The request for the honor came from Weightman’s Principal Donna Gricoski and the Weightman school community. The school is located at 30659 Wells Road, in Wesley Chapel.
Gricoski wrote a letter to the school board and Superintendent Kurt Browning seeking the honor for Coach Mine. She read from that letter at the board’s May 16 meeting.
“Coach Mine has been a teacher at Thomas E. Weightman (Middle School) since its inception 33 years ago,” Gricosi said.
“Besides being a physical education teacher at our school, he has also coached various extracurricular sports, such as football, track, soccer and basketball.
“He has won the most games in the history of Thomas E. Weightman, possibly even in the history of Pasco County.
“Coach Mine has won more than 25 district championships, in various sports. Many of his former players have gone on to play high school sports and beyond.
“In addition, some of his former students have also gone on to become coaches within our district.
“Throughout his years of service, Coach Mine has also taught the adaptive physical education classes to our students with varying special needs, held the title of athletic director for many years and ran multiple summer sports camps so that many children had the opportunity to play and try different sports.
“After 38 years of service to our district, Coach Mine continues to be a great coach and mentor to our students and community.
“He continues to share his knowledge and passion for sports and fitness daily with the students.
“If asked about his years of teaching, he will probably tell you that after all of these years, he continues to love his job.
“In recognition of his dedication and commitment to the students, staff and sports programs at Thomas E. Weightman, we request that the gymnasium at Thomas E. Weightman Middle School be named after Coach Thomas Mine,” she said.
In addition to the letter of support, a large contingent of the coach’s fans turned out at the school board meeting, in a show of affection and respect for him.
Mine was obviously touched by the tribute.
“First thank you for my friends and family for attending this evening and celebrating this very special honor,” Mine said.
He thanked the administration and his colleagues for spearheading the honor, and the school board and superintendent for approving it.
“At the end of this school year, I will have completed my 45th year of teaching — 38 in Pasco County. The last 32 at Thomas E. Weightman Middle,” Mine said.
“During this time, I have witnessed the Weightman family strive for excellence, with genuine care for each student, family and staff member.
“I have worked with awesome administrators, tremendous teachers, super students and families, and a terrific P.E. team, especially Coach (Brian) Dorkowski and Coach (Claudine) Nipps, for over 20 years.
“To put it simply, Weightman is a fantastic school. To have my name associated with TEMS is an honor and privilege for which I am sincerely grateful.
“Throughout my career, I have been supported with love and encouragement by my extraordinary family, my amazing wife Anne, and children, Jonathan, Jessica, (and) Zachary. Thank you, and I love you dearly.”
He also expressed appreciation for his colleagues at Weightman.
“I have the greatest admiration for all of you. Your dedication, commitment, professionalism and perseverance in everything you do, has inspired me to do my best each and every day.
“My years of teaching have provided me with a lifetime of friendships and happy memories that I will cherish forever.
“Thank you for this incredible honor,” Mine said.
Published May 31, 2023