A win-win situation for Jason Thomas

Jason Thomas: Director of success

Josh Worden, Senior Beat Reporter

OSU’s Assistant Athletic Director’s wife gives birth hours after the Cal win Saturday

About halfway through Oregon State’s football game Saturday night against California, Jason Thomas got a text from his wife.

Thomas, who works heavily with players on and off the field as OSU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development and Football Leadership Initiatives, was watching the Beavers hold off the heavily favored Golden Bears in what turned out to be an overtime 47-44 victory for OSU.

There was a lot more on Thomas’ mind than just watching the Beavers get their first Pac-12 win in 13 games, though. His wife was in labor, her contractions getting closer and closer together through the second half and overtime period.

Soon after OSU quarterback Darrell Garretson crossed the goal line in overtime to give OSU the walk-off win, Thomas rushed to his car, drove home to pick up his wife and headed for the hospital. They arrived around midnight on Sunday morning and at 8:49 a.m., Jason and Dayna Thomas welcomed Chara Ada Mae Thomas to their family.

“It was exciting on both ends: the fact that we were in a great game and the fact that we were adding to our family,” Thomas said on Monday afternoon. “That was a huge blessing.”

The 15-hour period from kickoff Saturday to birth on Sunday was a climactically positive time for the Thomas family, especially considering the personal tragedy Jason and Dayna have been through recently. They had two miscarriages during last football season, so the successful pregnancy this time heightened the significance of what already was a dramatic moment. Plus, Thomas pointed out, there are some meaningful similarities between OSU’s football team snapping a 12-game conference losing streak the same night he and his wife finally had a healthy baby.

“I was overwhelmed,” he said. “For me, the fact seeing the hard work of our student athletes, coaches and the program as a whole, battling back and forth, the ups and downs are kind’ve parallel to our personal life having two miscarriages during last season. For everything to be happening, see it all and come to fruition, I was overwhelmed by emotion. I couldn’t fight back any tears at that point.”

Chara Ada Mae got her first and middle names from Jason’s 99-year-old grandmother, who happened to fly in Saturday night to Corvallis and helped watch Jason and Dayna’s two boys at home during the labor process. The nearly nine hours of labor was not the longest for the Thomas family; their first son, Ezekiel, took 18 hours of labor and two hours of pushing.

Jason knew he had a long night ahead of him after the game, but he stuck it out at Reser Stadium and stayed until the final play.

“I was locked and loaded,” he said. “I was going to ride it out until the end. My wife is extremely tough, and I knew she would be able to hang on. I was praying she would be able to hang on through the whole process. But I had no thoughts of leaving. I felt I needed to be there and support our student athletes and coaches. It all worked out in the end.”

Chara Ada Mae follows her brother Ezekiel by seven years and Asher by three and a half years. Once she was born Sunday morning, Thomas lightened up enough to make a joke about naming her with a reference to OSU’s victory the night before.

“I asked my wife, ‘Hey, what if we give her an extra middle name and maybe call her W for the win or Dub, and she wasn’t cool with that,” Thomas said. “She said we were sticking with what we had.”

Thomas said, at least for now, the family is sticking with three children.

“We’ve prayed about it. I don’t think I could ask my wife that question this second,” he said with a laugh. “I think if I did ask her right now, the answer would be no. But we’re just going with the flow.”

Most of the coaches or players weren’t aware of Thomas’ situation during the game, but the good news starting coming in later.

“He texted us that night saying, ‘Everything is good: healthy baby, healthy mother,’” said co-offensive coordinator TJ Woods. “Good night to be born.”

“I need to tell him congratulations,” added safety Kendall Hill. “I’ll be sure to let him know. That’s a cool accomplishment. It’s very sweet to hear about good things like that. That’s a blessing to have another child.”

Overall, for Thomas and his family, the ability to celebrate an upset at Reser Stadium followed by a healthy birth hours later was immensely gratifying.

“Just the blessing on being able to bring another baby into this world is huge,” Thomas said. “We’re definitely excited. And we were joking about how it was a win-win situation, got the W and had a baby. Lets go Beavs.”

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