VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota Athletic Director David Herbster is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael Thomas as the Coyotes' sixth head soccer coach in program history. Thomas has six years of head coaching experience at the Division I level and another 12 years as an assistant coach, including the last four seasons as the associate head coach at Cal State Fullerton.
"I'm excited to be joining the South Dakota athletic family," Thomas said. "I was blown away with the atmosphere during my interview. I would like to thank David Herbster, Dan Gaston and the search committee for this opportunity. I would also like to thank Jim Donovan and Demian Brown for a wonderful four years at Cal State Fullerton.
Lastly, I would like to thank Mandy and Josh Green for all the work they put into the program and leaving it in good and healthy shape."
While at Cal State Fullerton, Thomas helped the Titans to a 46-27-11 record with three NCAA tournament appearances, three Big West Conference Tournament Championships and two regular season titles.
Thomas tutored a First Team All-American, six all-region honorees, two Big West Offensive Players of the Year, two Big West Goalkeepers of the Year, a Big West Midfielder of the Year and Big West Defender of the Year.
As a head coach at the University of Buffalo from 2008-2014, Thomas guided the Bulls to the Mid-American Conference semifinals for the first time in 10 seasons during the 2011 season.
Thomas guided UB to a 12-5-4 record in 2011, marking the most improved team in the country and an RPI jump of nearly 200 places. Buffalo ranked fifth in the nation with an 89.6 save percentage and 15th in the nation with a 57.1 percent shutout percentage.
In his six season in Buffalo, Thomas coached 12 Mid-American all-conference, all-tournament and all-academic honorees. Off the pitch, his squad held the highest GPA in the UB athletic department on three different occasions.
Prior to his time at Buffalo, Thomas helped lead Denver to four NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons as an assistant coach. The Pioneers won the Sun Belt regular season championship three times and helped coach the team to a 90-25-12 record over the six seasons.
Thomas also has assistant coaching stops at Memphis and Wisconsin – Green Bay.
"Michael brings a wealth of soccer knowledge to our program through his collegiate, club and Olympic development experience," Herbster said. "Coach Thomas has been part of and helped build championship programs and we welcome him to the Coyote family to do the same here."
He has experience coaching in the Olympic Development Program as a region staff coach and a state coach in four different states along with club coaching experience in California, Colorado, Minnesota and Tennessee. He also competed as a professional for the Boulder Nova/Rapids Reserve and Myrtle Beach Sea Dawgs of the United Soccer League.
Thomas is a 1998 graduate of Fort Lewis College where he was a member of the men's soccer team and graduated with honors receiving his bachelor of arts in history. He received his master of arts in human communication from Denver in 2005.
Thomas replaces Mandy Green, who coached the Coyotes for eight seasons.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.