Aug. 9, 2006
Moraga, CA - Saint Mary's Director of Athletics Mark Orr announced today the hiring of Paul Thomas as the new head women's basketball coach at Saint Mary's College. Thomas becomes the eighth head coach in the program's 28-year history.
"We are extremely excited to add Paul Thomas to the Saint Mary's community," Orr said. "We had a very competitive pool of applicants, however the search committee felt Paul was the best hire. Paul fits everything we were looking for and we can't wait to get started."
Thomas joins Saint Mary's after serving as head women's coach at Cal Poly Pomona for the past 12 seasons. Thomas led Cal Poly Pomona to back-to-back NCAA Division II National Championships in 2001 and 2002.
"I'm very excited for this opportunity," Thomas said. "This is an opportunity for me and my family to be aligned with an institution that has the same philosophies and background that we do."
While at Cal Poly Pomona, Thomas reached the Sweet Sixteen four out of the last seven seasons, won five California Collegiate Athletic Association champions and was named the NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year and NCAA District 8 Coach of the Year in 2002.
After 12 seasons, Thomas' overall record was 235-108 (.685), and was 115-32 (.782) over the past five seasons, which included three conference championships and two national titles.
"It was difficult to leave Cal Poly Pomona after 16 years," Thomas said. "Having the opportunity to work with the people at Pomona was very educational and an experience that was both professionally and personally rewarding."
Thomas has reached the Division II NCAA Tournament eight out of the past 12 seasons with a current 14-6 postseason record. He has recruited and coached two National Players of the Year, six First Team Kodak All-Americans, four CCAA Players of the Year and 15 First Team All-Conference players.
"I can't wait to get started in my new position and work with everybody involved with the Athletic Department and the community," Thomas said. "Having met several of the players during the interview process, I'm excited to get to know the rest of the team and work with them as a group."
Prior to becoming head coach at Cal Poly Pomona, Thomas served as an assistant coach at Cal Poly Pomona for four seasons.
Thomas is a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Board of Directors.
Thomas joined Cal Poly Pomona out of Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota where he served as head coach for a pair of seasons. Prior to joining Hamline, Thomas was the women's assistant coach at his alma mater of Wayne State College. He worked with the Wildcats for three seasons (1985-88) earning his bachelor's degree (1986) and his master's degree (1988) in physical education. Thomas also worked at Pender High School in Pender, Nebraska where he was a girls' basketball assistant coach.
Thomas played two years of college basketball at Midland Lutheran College (Fremont, Nebraska) before transferring to Wayne State to concentrate on coaching. He played his high school ball at Creighton High School in Creighton, Nebraska where he was an all-state forward and the team's Most Valuable Player for the Bulldogs.
Paul and his wife SueEllen reside in Orinda with their son Jacob (8) and daughters Michaela (7) and Annika (4).