Coach Bob Thomason holds up the net after winning the 2003-2004 Big West Championship
Winning on the Court and Succeeding in the ClassroomTigers coach Bob Thomason has the most career wins in the Big West Conference, but he's also helped his players to become more than just great basketball players.
This year, Pacific men's basketball head coach Bob Thomason surpassed legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian's Big West Conference record of 405 conference wins. The honor comes as no surprise to those who know the coach. Thomason is known for encouraging his team members to improve and perform at their best. He emphasizes strategy over showmanship and teamwork over individual effort. But he's more than just a committed coach. Thomason also is a mentor to the players and is dedicated to their well being. He does whatever he can in an effort to make the student-athletes more than just great players. He tries to guide them into being great citizens after college.
"Academic excellence & graduation have always been high on Coach Thomason's list," said current assistant coach Adam Jacobsen. Jacobsen was a student-athlete at Pacific under Thomason from 1993-98. "He believes that each player needs to work hard to be their best in the classroom and on 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. And for Thomason, he says this is what he's most proud of at Pacific.
After nearly 24 years of coaching, Thomason is well known and respected at Pacific. But his connection to the University began decades earlier. 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.
As Thomason has coached, recruited and maintained the Pacific program for the last 24 years, he has posted some incredible numbers, including four All-Americans, a number one overall NBA draft pick, and 229 league victories.
As you might imagine, the individual great moments have stacked up for Thomason, but it's that "winning time" that he reflects on the most. "Any of those moments in the Big West Tournament or NCAA Tournament when you have put the game away and you can sit back and watch your players celebrate are great," said Thomason. "I get excited just sitting back and watching the players share in something where everyone had to do their part and sacrifice for the team."
As of the New Year, Thomason's win total stands at 407. A ceremony recognizing Thomason's achievement as the coach with the most career wins in the Big West Conference will take place during the Men's Basketball game versus UC Irvine on Thursday, January 5 at 7 p.m. For more information, view the events calendar.