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Larry Thoman

Country: United States

ACHIEVEMENTS

Bowmar Sports Table Tennis Robot Specialist

Larry started playing table tennis in 1971 when he was in the 9th grade. The Parks Department operated a community center in part of the school after school let out. Instead of going home right away, he’d stay and play ping pong, pool, basketball, or anything else that happened to come up. Gradually, he got better and better at ping pong until he was one of the best at the center.

Then one day, an older man named Everett Henry came in and beat him like a drum. Everett would just stand back away from the table, lofting all of Larry’s hardest shots back onto the table until Larry would finally miss out of frustration. But despite always losing to Everett, Larry kept coming back for just one more game. After about a month, Everett invited Larry to come to the table tennis club that met at the community center on Thursday nights.

Of course he went. Larry played 2 or 3 matches on their “Challenge Ladder”, not winning any of them and getting placed on the bottom of the ladder after paying a dollar to join the club. It then became a weekly ritual on Thursday nights for Larry to rush through dinner and then bicycle to the community center to play at the club. It was something he looked forward to for a whole week.

Gradually he began climbing the “ladder” and after about 3 or 4 years, he was #1! Later that first year, he entered his first tournament and started attending all the tournaments around Nashville, TN. In 1974, Larry started going to training camps in the summer (Dell Sweeris‘ at first, then Danny Seemiller’s).

Over the next 4 decades, Larry has led a life filled with table tennis. It became his lifelong ambition to see his beloved sport blossom in the US. To this end, Larry has served our sport in numerous ways:

• Founded Fortune TTC, Goodlettsville TTC, Nashville, TTC (2nd iteration), and Newgy TTC.

• Directed his first table tennis tournament at age of 16 and numerous tournaments since.

• Ten-time Tennessee State Men’s Singles and Doubles Champion

• Two-time Collegiate Regional Men’s Singles Champion.

• Served as USATT Coaching Chairman in 1982-83.

• In the early nineties, created and served as Commissioner for the Volunteer Cup Table Tennis League, a league encompassing 7 states, 3 divisions, and 35+ teams (the largest interstate team league in US table tennis history).

• Worked as the Sport Information Manager, Assistant Manager of Training Sites, and Paralympic Field of Play Director at the 1996 Olympics and Paralympics in Atlanta, GA.

• Worked 26 years as the General Manager of Newgy Industries.

• Served as Table Tennis Director for the Tennessee Senior Olympics (1998 to present).

• Served as USATT’s Southeastern Regional Sanctioning Coordinator for 18 years (1991–2009) and National Sanctioning Coordinator for 7 years (2009 to present).

• Author of Newgy Robo-Pong Training Manual, a manual for using a robot to train TT strokes and skills.

• Co-inventor on 3 different patents related to TT robots.

• Received Doc Counsilman Science Award for Table Tennis, presented by United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

• Started Pong-Bot Pro, a company specializing in table tennis robot service, repair, and use as well as providing other table tennis services.

Larry now serves as robot specialist for Bowmar Sports and is happy to answer any inquiries related to use of the Amicus and SmartPong lines of robots.

Outside of table tennis, Larry is an avid outdoorsman, active in canoeing, hiking, camping, backpacking, bicycling, and fishing. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Associate’s Degree in Conservation and Environmental Technology, majoring in Wildlife Management. He was included in Who’s Who Among Students In American Junior Colleges in 1976-1977.

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