Matt Thomas has been named the new head hockey coach at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Bill Spindle announced Tuesday.
The fifth head coach in UAA program history, Thomas comes to the Seawolves after nine years as a head coach and general manager in the ECHL, including the last four-plus seasons with the Stockton Thunder. Most recently, Thomas led the Thunder to a 37-26-5 record and the Kelly Cup finals in 2012-13.
“I would like to thank Dr. Spindle, the search committee, (interim athletic director) Tim McDiffett and the entire UAA Athletics staff for this tremendous opportunity to lead the Seawolf Hockey program,” Thomas said. “This is an exciting challenge as we try to take UAA hockey to the next level in a year full of change. The new look of the WCHA and college hockey landscape offers a unique opportunity for our student-athletes. I am committed to the individual success of our players and want to let them know they will be an integral part of restoring a winning tradition.”
“I have always admired the sense of community and pride that is associated with Anchorage and the entire state of Alaska, and our entire family is excited about the move. It truly is a ‘hockey state.’ My goal is to bring back the passion for UAA hockey and produce a winner for the community, alumni and our fan base.”
With a lifetime record of 342-225-80 (.564), Thomas ranks No. 5 on the professional league’s all-time wins list, including a 163-127-39 mark with the Thunder. At Stockton, he inherited a last-place team midway through the 2008-09 campaign and led it to a 22-16-4 finish and a playoff berth. In 2009-10, the Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals and in 2010-11 they set franchise records for points (86) and road wins (19), tying for the Pacific Division title.
“We’re very excited that Matt Thomas will be joining Seawolf Athletics as our new head hockey coach,” said Spindle. “Matt’s extensive experience as a head coach, coupled with his incredible enthusiasm for rolling up his sleeves and facing UAA’s program challenges head-on, make him the right choice to lead the Seawolves as we head into a new league and a new season this fall.”
Read more about this newest member of Seawolf Nation at GoSeawolves.com.