Stockton, Calif. - University of the Pacific Head Men's Basketball Coach Bob Thomason has announced that he will retire after the 2012-13 season.
Thomason will leave Pacific after a quarter century at his alma mater, leading the Tigers to an unprecedented NCAA Tournament run. Men's Basketball has made eight NCAA Tournament appearances and is the only Big West Conference team since 1993 to advance to the Second Round in consecutive seasons. With a win over former league rival Utah State on Dec. 3, 2011, he became the Big West Conference's all-time wins leader. He brings 414 career wins into the 2012-13 season at Pacific and an all-time league mark of 234 Big West league victories. Under Thomason, the Tigers have had nine 20-win seasons and have won 75 percent of their home games, getting 236 Spanos Center victories. He has been a part of 470 wins at Pacific, as a player (1968-1971) and coach (1988-present).
"I have had an unbelievable experience coaching at Pacific for the past 24 years," said Thomason. "The players, assistant coaches, administrators, faculty, support staff, boosters, and fans from Stockton have given me great support, and I really appreciate their support. To be able to coach the Tigers for 25 years will be a true pleasure. After next season, it will be the perfect time for me to retire from Pacific. We will have a team that can compete for the Big West Championship, and the team will be even better the following season. It was important for me to leave a good team for the next coaching staff. Also, it's a great time for a new coach to lead the Tigers into the West Coast Conference in 2013-14. I will always be a great fan of Pacific Basketball and of all Pacific sports, and look forward to spending more quality time with my family. Thank you Pacific and the Stockton community."
"Bob has taken Pacific's Basketball program to new heights and given us all wonderful memories," said Vice President for External Affairs and Athletics Ted Leland. "His impact on the lives of his student-athletes and in the community has been innumerable. He has been an ambassador for Pacific in the community and around the country since his first day on campus. We want to thank Bob for all that he has done for the University and we are looking forward to a great final year. We will miss him."
"I enjoyed working with Bob, he was dedicated to seeing his student-athletes graduate," said former Pacific Director of Athletics Lynn King. "He was an excellent coach for Pacific because he was successful on the court and he also pushed his players for academic success."
"Bob has been more than a friend in my 20 years here at Pacific," said 20th year softball head coach Brian Kolze. "He has been a tremendous mentor and peer whenever I have ever needed guidance or help. His level of passion for coaching and the University of the Pacific is something we will miss yet should all strive for. Having grown up in Stockton, I was fortunate enough to watch Bob compete as an athlete and now as a coach. To see how he has connected to the University his athletes and the community during these many years, has been amazing. If we learn nothing else from the man at least we have learned, integrity, competitiveness, passion and of course how to bleed Orange and Black!"
He has led the Tigers to seven post-season appearances, including NCAA Tournament First Round victories in 2003-04 and 2004-05. It was the first (and only) time since 1993 that a Big West team won an NCAA Tournament game in consecutive years. The Tigers also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1996-97 and 2005-06. In 1997-98, Pacific won the regular season Big West crown and advanced to the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. Pacific advanced to the semi-final round of the CollegeInsider.com tournament in 2008-09 and to the championship game in 2009-10.
Bob's accolades are nearly as numerous as his victories with Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors coming in 1992-93, 1996-97, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06. After setting a school mark by leading the Tigers to a 27-4 record in 2004-05, Thomason was named as a finalist for the CollegeInsider.com Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award and received USBWA District 9 Coach of the Year honors. He was also named CollegeInsider.com Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 2009-10. Entering the 2011-12 season, he was the 26th winningest active coach and ninth on the list of Most Seasons With Current School.
His legacy is certain at Pacific, not only in the wins on the floor, but the wins off the court. Under Thomason's guidance, 96% of his student-athletes that have finished their eligibility at Pacific have earned their degrees. Pacific has a long history of its athletes achieving the highest GPAs in the Big West Conference -- with graduation rates and GPAs that often are much higher than the NCAA average. As Thomason has coached, recruited and driven the Pacific program for the last 24 years, he has posted four All-Americans (Michael Olowokandi, Miah Davis, David Doubley, Christian Maraker), a number one overall NBA draft pick (Olowokandi) and 59 All-Big West Conference awards.
Bob's life-long journey in basketball began when he was recruited from Clayton Valley High School in Concord by Tiger Hall of Fame head coach Dick Edwards to the Stockton campus. A pinpoint shooter from the outside, Thomason averaged 17.2 points per game even before the three-point shot become a staple of the game. He earned All-West Coast Athletic Conference honors after his senior season and began coaching soon thereafter at Stagg High School. He went on to outstanding stints at both Columbia College and Cal State Stanislaus before being introduced as Pacific's new head coach in July of 1988.