|The name Charles Vawter Tompkins is engraved deep in the hearts of those who knew him. As a coach, teacher and friend, "his loyal devotion, unruffled patience and faithful endeavor both in the classroom and on the athletic field have been sources of inspiration and pride to those who have come under his sympathetic influence," reads the 1923 Whispers.
Mr. Tompkins joined The High School in 1919 as a math and chemistry teacher and coach for the football and track teams. By his fourth year coaching football – and only his second year as head coach – he brought the 1922 team to an undefeated season and to the championship of Virginia. Then in 1923, the team went undefeated again!
As head football coach from 1921 to 1928, Mr. Tompkins treated his players fairly, never criticized a boy unjustly and "always demanded a gentlemanly game from his charges," according to the 1922 Whispers.
On the track he displayed the same spirit that characterized him on the football field. As head track coach from 1919 to 1945 and 1951 to 1956, he possessed a spirit and manner that made boys want to give all they had.
"In Mr. Tompkins we have a coach of the highest type, a man who understands the peculiarities and weaknesses of each individual, and knows how he can get the best out of that boy," it is written in the 1923 Whispers.
Until 1966 when he retired, Mr. Tompkins inspired boys and instilled in them high standards of personal integrity. These ideals of his still are honored today with The James A. Cathcart III Scholarship in memory of C.V. Tompkins given to a member of the junior class who performs diligently on the track and in the classroom.
It would be difficult to estimate the number of students who have, enshrined in their memory, the revered image of the coach and teacher who cared for them, believed in them and took pride in them. As the 1923 Whispers says, "He is a real man - the kind of man that Episcopal High School would be proud to claim for her son."