Thomas Dziagwa to play in West Virginia University Coliseum

A college basketball player with ties to Parkersburg will be playing at the West Virginia University Coliseum next month.

But he won’t be wearing the Mountaineer old gold and blue.

Thomas Dziagwa, a sophomore guard for Oklahoma State University, will be wearing orange and black when the Cowboys face WVU at noon Feb. 10 in Morgantown.

Dziagwa, a good three-point shooter, is the son of Parkersburg native Don Dziagwa, who played basketball and coached at Parkersburg Catholic High School. Don also was the head basketball coach at St. Marys High School in the early 1980s, before heading to Florida to teach and coach.

Don, 62, a 1973 graduate of Parkersburg Catholic High School, is the head basketball coach and athletic director at Tampa Catholic High School in Florida, which has 760 students.

Dziagwa’s coaching record in 27 seasons at Tampa Catholic is 458 wins and 315 losses, not including a 13-3 record so far this season. He led Tampa Catholic to a state championship in 1995 and his team was state runner-up last year in Class 5A (Florida has nine classes).

Dziagwa has 519 wins when counting his five-year record at Leto High School in Tampa. He is in Tampa Catholic’s sports hall of fame.

The school’s nickname is the Crusaders, the same as Parkersburg Catholic.

Don is proud of Thomas, whom he calls a great kid, a smart young man, besides being a standout basketball player who understands “the team concept.”

Playing for his father, Thomas was Tampa Catholic’s all-time leading basketball scorer with 2,162 career points until University of Kentucky recruit Kevin Knox broke his record last year.

Thomas is a hard worker who loves the game of basketball, Don said. During July, Thomas made 20,000 basketball shots — and they were not layups, Don said.

Thomas is averaging 7.3 points a game after 16 games (11-5) this year. He was Oklahoma State’s leading scorer with 19 points in a loss to the University of Oklahoma this year.

The Oklahoma State men’s basketball website says Thomas is “one of OSU’s top sharpshooters.”

Don and his wife, Mary, will be attending a few Oklahoma State games this season. Don said he is able to watch Thomas play because the Big 12 basketball games are televised.

Don said he plans to remain at Tampa Catholic for “at least a couple more years” and then look at retirement. Three sophomores start on this year’s basketball team, which Don described as a good team with a “great group of kids.”

“I enjoy what I do. It is a great situation,” Dziagwa said. His son Matt is an assistant basketball coach at Tampa Catholic and played basketball for his father there.

“I loved coaching my two sons,” Don said.

His daughter Gracie was a member of a state champion girls basketball team at Tampa Catholic.

Don graduated from Marshall University in 1977 and then went to work at Parkersburg Catholic High School, where he was assistant basketball, football and baseball coach, for two years.

He left to become an assistant basketball coach at Wheeling Central High School for coach Skip Prosser, who later coached at Wake Forest University.

Don was head basketball coach at St. Marys High School in 1981-82 and ’82-’83.

Although Don cannot attend the Feb. 10 game in Morgantown, his brother Bill of Parkersburg plans to be in the WVU Coliseum to watch his nephew Thomas battle the Mountaineers.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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