The fifth head coach in UAA program history, Matt Thomas is in his fifth season as bench boss of Seawolf hockey in 2017-18.
In four years, Thomas has sent 13 of 19 seniors on to the professional stage – including five with AHL game time – graduated 14 players with bachelor degrees, landed 48 on the WCHA All-Academic Team and helped 21 to WCHA Scholar-Athlete honors. His Seawolves have also combined for over 1,000 hours of community service. Most recently, the Seawolves’ Austin Sevalrud was awarded WCHA’s Postgraduate Scholarship for 2016.
Additionally, Thomas – who owns a 44-79-17 overall record with the Green & Gold – has hugely increased the Seawolves’ presence in the community, with his team contributing hundreds of service hours during his time at UAA.
During his first season at helm, Thomas led the Seawolves to their third ever appearance at the WCHA Final Five and to UAA’s first winning season since 1992-93 with an 18-16-4 record. UAA advanced to the Final Five after defeating UAF 2-1 in a best-of-three WCHA First Round playoff series. Thomas also led the Seawolves to the Kendall Hockey Classic crown in October, beating defending NCAA runner-up Quinnipiac – the first of four ranked opponents to fall to UAA that year.
Thomas came 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.
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 (2008-13). 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.
From 2005-08, Thomas was the head coach/GM of the ECHL’s Fresno Falcons, racking up a 137-76-33 (.624) record in three and a half seasons. Under his guidance, the Falcons reached Game 7 of the 2006 Western Conference finals, where they lost 3-2 in double overtime, and were in first place in the Pacific when the team ceased operations in December 2008.
Thomas got his head coaching start with the ECHL’s Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies in 2004, leading his squad to a 42-22-8 (.638) mark as the league’s youngest coach. As an assistant coach and director of hockey operations for the New Jersey franchise for the previous two seasons, he helped the Bullies to a combined 92-43-18 record and the 2003 Kelly Cup title.
The bench boss for two ECHL All-Star Games (2005, 2009), Thomas’ teams advanced 126 players to the AHL in his 11 combined seasons as a head or assistant coach.
Prior to joining the professional ranks, Thomas spent three seasons as an NCAA assistant coach, including two seasons at Div. I program Maine from 2000-02. At Maine he was part of a Black Bears squad that was the 2002 NCAA runner-up, and in his lone season at his alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology, he helped the Tigers to the 1999 NCAA Div. III semifinals.
A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Thomas played four seasons at RIT from 1994-98, captaining the Tigers to an NCAA berth and No. 1 ranking as a senior, while capturing all-star honors. He earned a B.S. in criminal justice/pre-law from RIT in 1998.
Thomas and his wife, Andrea, have two sons, Devlin and Gavin.