Bob Thomason retired after his 25th and final season at Pacific, and has the most wins in school and Big West history with 414. He has been named Big West Conference Coach of the Year five times (1992-93, 1996-97, 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06). He finished his career with a 22-13 record in 2012-13, and a career mark of 437-321. He was honored with the Gene Bartow Award at the 2013 NCAA Final Four in Atlanta, Ga.
THE GOAL AND THE LINK
Bringing the Pacific basketball program back to the level it enjoyed when he himself wore the Tiger Orange and Black was the main goal for Bob Thomason when he was hired in March of 1988. As Bob enters his 25th season at his alma mater, his goal has been attained and then some, directing the Tigers to four straight 20 win seasons for the first time in school history. Pacific's run includes 15 winning seasons in the last 18 years and 157 wins over the last seven years. In 2009-10, Pacific reached at least 20 wins for the fifth time in six seasons, finishing 23-12. In 2005-06, the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year, for the first time in school history. In 2004-05, the Tigers ventured where no Tiger team had gone before, setting school records with 27 wins and an 18-0 Big West Conference mark in addition to a school-record 22 straight wins. In 2004-05, the Tigers also won an NCAA Tournament First Round game for the second straight year. In 2003-04, the Tigers were 25-8, winning an NCAA Tournament First Round game, with an upset victory over Providence in the first round. It was Pacific's second trip to the NCAA Tournament under Thomason. He led Pacific to a 75-73 win over Cal State Northridge in the Big West Conference championship game. Pacific also shared the Big West Conference regular season championship with a record of 17-1. Three times under Thomason, Pacific has had a 16-game winning streak. In 2003-04 the Tigers carried their streak into the postseason. In 1997-98, after losing the first two games of the Big West season, the Tigers reeled off 16 straight games to advance to the Big West Tournament championship game for the second straight year. In 1996-97, Pacific got out of the gate strong, winning 16 in a row after a season-opening loss on the way to a Big West Conference championship. The Tigers made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1979, when Pacific took the PCAA crown and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Pacific has only finished lower than fifth in the Big West once since 1990, winning at least nine league games in nine of the last 12 seasons. In 1998, the Tigers came one game from a second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, making the school's first-ever National Invitation Tournament appearance. Thomason earned Big West Conference Coach of the Year honors for the fifth time in 2006. He first earned the award in 1992-93, then again in 1996-97, before being honored by his fellow coaches in three straight seasons. Bob directed the Tigers to a Western Division title in 1996-97 and 1997-98, and has had five finishes of second or third place. The 1993-94 club challenged for a conference title until the final game of the season. When Pacific tied for fifth in 1991-92, the Tigers marched to within one point of the NCAA Tournament as they narrowly lost, 74-73 to New Mexico State in the Big West Tournament championship game. Pacific extended its home winning streak to 30 (third in the nation at the time), losing its final home game in 1998. A 1971 Pacific graduate, Thomason played for Dick Edwards on teams that were 17-9, 21-6 and 22-6 in 1968-69, 1969-70 and 1970-71, respectively. The 1970-71 club, with teammates John Gianelli and Jim McCargo, advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Bob Thomason is a visible link between Pacific's past glory and its present success.
FROM PLAYER TO COACH
The season before Thomason took control of the Tiger basketball program, Pacific suffered through a 5-24 year. There had been just one winning season in the last five. Thomason not only has guided the Tigers to 13 winning seasons, but he has also directed the Tigers to at least the semifinals of the Big West Tournament eight times. Success is no stranger to Thomason. He has won championships everywhere he has coached -- at the high school, junior college and four-year college level. Now he's aiming for a championship at the pinnacle of college basketball -- NCAA Division I. In three years at then-Division III Stanislaus State, he amassed a 52-27 record and reached the Southeast Regionals in just his second year at the helm. In 1987, Thomason guided the Warriors to a Northern California Athletic Conference championship, their first ever, and to the first 20-win season in school history. The year prior to Thomason's arrival at Stanislaus, the Warriors were 5-20. Before his term at Stanislaus, Thomason guided Columbia College to a 75-49 record, including the school's first-ever Central Valley Conference championship, in 1984-85. The year prior, Thomason led Columbia to a school-record 27 wins. In 2002, Thomason was inducted into the California Community College Men's Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame for his coaching days at Columbia College. In 25 seasons at the collegiate level (junior college and NCAA), his career collegiate coaching record stands at 449-316. In the high school ranks, he was 150-71, coaching three years at Escalon and five years at Turlock High School. He went 66-17 at Escalon and 84-54 at Turlock. Thomason guided Turlock High to a league title in 1979-80, its first in 25 years. He won a pair of league titles at Escalon, including a state title in 1975-76 with a perfect 27-0 record. Prior to his stint at Escalon, Thomason was an assistant at Stagg High School in Stockton for two seasons, accumulating a record of 53-0.
THOMASON AS A PLAYER
Originally from Concord, Thomason is a 1967 graduate of Clayton Valley High School. The son of a coach, he went on to a fine career as a shooting guard at Pacific, earning all-conference honors as a senior while averaging 17.2 points and shooting 85.5% from the free throw line. Thomason is seventh on Pacific's career list, making 180 of 217 free throw attempts for 82.9% accuracy. He is 11th on the career scoring list with an average of 15.3 points per game. Among other Thomason highlights as a player was his team-high 19 points in the 1971 Western Regional against a Jerry Tarkanian-coached Long Beach State team that downed the Tigers 78-65. He scored a career high 36 points against Loyola Marymount and added 31 against UC Santa Barbara during his senior campaign. Thomason earned his bachelor's degree in 1972 and his master's degree in 1985, both from Pacific in physical education. While at Pacific, he lettered three times in basketball and golf. He was a first team All-WCAC basketball pick as a senior.
FAMILY MAN IN THE VALLEY
Bob and his wife, Jerri, reside in Stockton. His son Scott graduated from Pacific in 1999, and is currently teaching along with holding head coaching duties for the boy's basketball team at Sierra High School in Manteca. Thomason's eldest son, Jeff, a 1997 Pacific graduate, is currently a member of the Oakland Police Department. Jeff and his wife, Allison, have a son, Kyle, and a daughter, Ella.