Tom Abel’s football and weightlifting coaching career is coming to an end. Abel, the head football coach and weightlifting coach at Wellington High School, is stepping down from his leadership role with both programs. The news was announced on Monday, Jan. 25.
In all, Abel has coached football for 22 years, of which 14 years were spent at Wellington High School, with the last nine as the head coach. Abel’s achievements on the gridiron extend beyond his overall winning record of 51-36 as head coach.
During his nine-year run at the helm of the program, the Wolverines qualified for the post season during five of the years. In all, Abel’s squads won two district championships and were the district runner-up on two other occasions. He has coached three high school All-Americans and three Lou Groza Award winners. More importantly, 57 of his players in the last nine years have been awarded college scholarships.
Abel was philosophical about his decision to move in a different direction with his coaching talents.
“It was time to move on,” Abel said. “We made great progress in establishing a new culture at Wellington, and I am proud of what we did with the Wolverine football program. I want to thank the school, the community, my players, their parents and fellow coaches for their years of support. I also want to thank my number one fan and supporter, my wife India.”
In addition to long hours on the practice field and in the weight room, Abel has been a tireless proponent and advocate for the Wellington High School football program. He has secured local corporate support for the purchase of uniforms, a scoreboard and play clocks.
Abel has also been instrumental in doing a number of little things that send a big message to students, parents, players and fellow coaches. For instance, the football team now joins together to sing the alma mater at Wellington after every home game, and he has also found a place for special needs students to be a part of the football program.
“I have included students with special needs in my program, all the time,” Abel said. “I have made them honorary captains, ball and equipment managers.”
In 2014 and 2016, Abel was named the Palm Beach Post coach of the year.
In his time in charge of the weightlifting team at Wellington High School, Abel has had a strong and positive impact.
In addition to coaching the weightlifting program, he has been the chief fundraiser and carpenter, too. His fundraising efforts have enabled the team to buy uniforms, new weightlifting equipment, dry erase boards, televisions and a projector for the weight room. Abel also put his handyman skills to good use as he built the platforms in the weight room and painted the space.
The immediate beneficiaries of Abel’s retirement from coaching will be his wife and children, who will get to spend more time with him at home.
“This is a big change for him, and it’s the end of an era,” said India Abel, Tom’s wife, who teaches at Pierce Hammock Elementary School in The Acreage. “We are looking forward to having more time with him at home. I will be staying in touch with many friends we have made over the years through Wellington High School.”
Abel will continue working at Wellington High School as a physical education teacher.