The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


October 2, 2013

Spencer Gilbert II carries on family tradition

GREENVILLE —   When Spencer Gilbert II carries the football for the Greenville Lions, the sophomore is carrying on a family tradition of excellence on the playing field.

  A tradition that includes a father who went on to play college football, a grandfather who was a rookie of the year and a Pro Bowl running back, plus two great uncles who also played in the National Football League.

  Gilbert’s father, Spencer Gilbert, played safety and outside linebacker for the Lions from 1986-87, earning all-district honors. He went on to play outside linebacker for NCAA Division II powerhouse Northwest Missouri State. As the offensive coordinator for the Lions, Gilbert coaches his son.

  Gilbert’s grandfather, Mike Thomas, earned all-state and all-America honors as a running back for the Lions in 1969-70, plus Little All-America honors at Nevada-Las Vegas and NFL Rookie of the Year honors with the Washington Redskins in 1975. Thomas also made the Pro Bowl for the 1976 season, when he rushed for 1,101 yards.

  Gilbert’s great uncles, Earl and Jimmy Thomas, were standout football players at Carver High School in Greenville and both brothers went on to stellar careers in college and in the NFL. Earl was a receiver at the University of Houston and then for the Chicago Bears, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Oilers in the NFL. Jimmy ran and caught the football at Texas-Arlington before racking up five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

  All three of the Thomas brothers are members of the Greenville Athletic Hall of Fame.

  The expectations on a young player can be difficult but young Spencer carries on the legacy without feeling too much pressure.

  “I just see family,” when he looks on his illustrious football predecessors. “It can be hard sometimes. I’ve just got to play and execute.”

  Spencer Gilbert said he’s very proud of his son, calling him a team leader.

  “Coaching him, it has its advantages,” he said. “We’ve got more one-on-one video time because when he’s home we watch football.”

  Spencer Gilbert learned from watching his father that success on the playing field comes from a lot of hard work and he’s passing that lesson on to his son.

  “Watching my dad on television, I can see some of the work habits that my father had,” said Spencer.

Mike Thomas, who lives in Houston, has kept up with his grandson’s football career in phone calls with his son, who sends his father video of the grandson’s games. Mike visited his hometown this weekend and was really excited about the opportunity to see his grandson play on Friday night against Royse City.

  “Lot of talent,” Mike said of Spencer Gilbert II. “He’s a young kid, got a long way to go. You can see the position (quarterback) fits him. He’s fortunate to have a father who’s a coach and knows the game. It’s really up to him. His position is one of leadership, on and off the field because everybody’s watching him. He carries the ball more than anybody else.

  “It’s a mental thing. He has to feel the game. It’s the best spot in the world to play. He’s the general of the army,” said Mike.

  Mike Thomas noted how support from family, friends and the community helps a player.

  “They need encouragement because there’s nothing like having somebody watch you play,” he said.

The Thomas name is still big in Greenville when outstanding football players are talked about.

  “I don’t know if it means something to Greenville, it means something to us because this is where we started,” said Jimmy Thomas. “There’s so much talent in this town. We were just very fortunate that we got to go on and play.”

  No doubt that Spencer Gilbert II is hoping that he can follow the family footsteps into an extended career in football.


Text Only
  • Greenville Lions' coaching staff lineup changes

      Each summer the Greenville Lions’ coaching staff goes through a transition phase as some coaches move on to other schools and new coaches are hired to take their place.
      This summer is no exception. There’s changes in the coaching staffs for the boys and girls programs that’ll involve the football, volleyball, boys soccer, powerlifting and softball teams.

    July 25, 2014

  • Oliver Hale three medals.jpg Hail to the winner of three medals at Transplant Games

      His nickname in Greenville is “Pee Wee,” but Oliver Hale is a big man on the tennis court and in the kitchen.
      Hale, who is a 1971 graduate of Greenville High School, won three medals at the 2014 Transplant Games of America recently in Houston while competing in the 60-and-over age category. He won a gold medal in men’s doubles, a silver in men’s singles and a bronze in mixed doubles along with playing partner Irena Bucci.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Colby Carthel Free youth football camp planned

    Second year Texas A&M University – Commerce Head Coach Colby Carthel and his coaching staff will be the directors of a free A&M Commerce Youth Football Camp.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carver.jpg Officially for the record

    Two former Greenville schools are now officially recognized for their accomplishments in sports through new signage at the T. A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium.

    July 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • LeBron_James_18112009_1.jpg LeBron: I'm heading back to Cleveland

    Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0000066_official_dixie_softball_patch_300.jpg Commerce to host Dixie Softball tournament

    The city of Commerce has partnered with the Dixie Softball to host the Darlings and the Debs Softball State Tournament at the Eddie Moore Sports Complex again this year.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Campbell Lady Indians listen 1.jpg Coach Steve Guffey touched many lives

      Steve Guffey was a true sportsman in every sense of the word.
      Guffey, who died on Saturday at the age of 50, was a standout athlete and coach, who was also an avid golfer, angler and hunter. He was an educator. teacher, mentor and a friend to many who’ve been paying their tributes online and at candlelight vigils on Sunday in Ladonia and on Monday in Campbell.  Guffey’s memorial service is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Campbell High School gymnasium, where he coached the Lady Indians’ basketball team the past 12 years.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason Burton.JPG A&M-Commerce hires Burton as women’s basketball coach

    Lion women’s basketball experienced a homecoming of sorts on April when athletics director Ryan Ivey announced Jason Burton as the eighth women’s basketball coach in program history.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lone Oak, Caddo Mills softball players make all-state team

      Two players from Lone Oak and one from Caddo Mills earned second-team honors on the Texas Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A all-state softball team.

    July 1, 2014

  • Kevin Bowers chip 1.jpg Former Baylor golfers win Monster Ball golf tourney

       Baylor University was well-represented at the third annual Craig Bowers Memorial Monster Ball golf tournament this weekend in Greenville.
      Two teams composed of former Baylor golfers finished first and second after 36 holes at Wright Park Municipal and Oak Creek Country Club.

    June 24, 2014 8 Photos

House Ads
Featured Ads

Does Dallas head coach Jason Garrett need for the Cowboys to make the playoffs during the 2014 football season to keep his job?

Who knows with Jerry Jones as owner?
     View Results
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Real Estate News