FULLERTON, Calif. – Michael Thomas has joined the Cal State Fullerton women's soccer coaching staff, it was announced today by eighth-year head coach Demian Brown.
Thomas joins the staff as an assistant coach, replacing Diego Bocanegra, who accepted a similar position at Notre Dame in May.
"I am excited to be joining Cal State Fullerton," Thomas said. "The women's soccer program has been a consistent contender in recent years, and I am eager to help Coach Brown and the team return to the NCAA Tournament."
Prior to joining the Titan staff, Thomas served as head coach at the University of Buffalo for six years (2008-13). During his tenure with the Bulls, he tutored 12 Mid-American all-conference, all-tournament and all-academic honorees, fielding his most successful squad in 2011.
"I am very happy about the addition of Michael Thomas to our coaching staff," Brown said. "I feel that his experiences as an assistant, more importantly as a head coach, are going to have an immediate impact not only on our coaching staff, but with our program and our student-athletes.
"Michael's motivation to win and his excitement about the upcoming season are tremendous. I look forward to the beginning of a great 2014 season with him as a part of our staff."
Thomas coached the most improved team in the nation during the 2011 season as the Bulls finished with a record of 12-5-4, eleven more wins than it had the previous season, and an improvement of almost 200 places in the national RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). The team also made the Mid-American Conference tournament for the first time since 2003.
The team ranked nationally in shutouts (with 11), three players were named to the postseason conference teams and the program made its second trip ever to the MAC semifinal round before losing to eventual champion Toledo.
Off the field, Thomas led the program to a 991 multi-year APR (Academic Progress Rate), a 1,000 multi-year eligibility/graduation rate and a 982 multi-year retention rate.
During his time with the Bulls, Thomas also coached with Empire United Soccer Club.
Prior joining Buffalo, Thomas helped lead the University of Denver to four NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons as an assistant coach for the Pioneers. He helped the team to a 90-25-12 record during that time. The Pioneers made four NCAA Tournament appearances, including one following their 2007 Sun Belt Championship.
During the 2007 season, Denver defeated Stanford, who was ranked No. 1 in the country at the time, by a 1-0 decision. In 2006, the Pioneers had an .848 winning percentage, sixth best in the nation. Denver was successful in the classroom too, as the team won the Sun Belt Conference team academic award with a 3.4 GPA. The Pioneers also had winning percentages in the national top 10 in 2002 (.857) and 2003 (.818).
Thomas was also a technical advisor and staff coach for the Colorado Fusion Soccer Club, where he directed over 40 teams, making it the fourth largest youth soccer club in Denver. In 2006, Thomas was a coach for the Olympic Development Program.
Prior to joining Denver, Thomas spent one season at the University of Memphis and a year at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. At Green Bay, he assisted with both the men's and women's program, becoming a Horizon League finalist with the men's squad. While at Green Bay, Thomas acted as the northern coordinator for the girls Olympic Development Program.
Thomas was a professional soccer player in 1998-99 with the Myrtle Beach Sea Dawgs of the United Soccer League and again played in the league in 2000.
Thomas received a Bachelor's of Arts in history from Fort Lewis College, graduating with honors in 1998. At Fort Lewis, Thomas was a member of the men's soccer team that won three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships. Thomas received a Master's of Arts in human communication from the University of Denver in 2005. Thomas has also held an "A" License from the United States Soccer Federation since July 2004.