UMBC Head Men’s Basketball Coach Aki Thomas has signed a two-year contract extension through the 2015-16 academic year, Director of Athletics Tim Hall announced today.
Thomas enters his second year as head coach of the program, earning the title on the eve of the 2013 America East Tournament. He served as acting head coach since Oct. 10, 2012 after five previous seasons as a Retrievers’ assistant coach.
“I really like what I see from Aki in all areas of our men’s basketball program,” Hall said.
“It is clear he is intelligent, hard-working, focused, a good communicator and an individual with high integrity. The young men within the program are really responding to his guidance and that of his staff.”
Despite the loss of three post players due to injury a year ago, the first-year mentor and his staff led UMBC to more victories (8) than since the 2008-09 campaign. The cohesive Retrievers knocked off third-seeded Hartford in the quarterfinals of the league championships, and led Vermont for much of the first 32 minutes of play before bowing in the semis.
Even with the loss of the primary interior presence of their defense, the Retrievers allowed five fewer points per game (71.5) in 2012-13 than they did in the previous season.
The 34-year old Thomas was the 11th-youngest NCAA Division I head coach in the nation in 2012-13.
“I would like to thank Tim Hall for his commitment not only to myself and our staff, but to our entire basketball family as we continue to grow and rebuild the program,” said Thomas. “I am privileged to be coaching a special group of young men whose goal is to give the UMBC community something for which it can be proud.”
Thomas and his staff have bolstered hopes for the future by bringing in a strong, locally-based recruiting class for the 2013-14 campaign.
“This extension will give Aki and me a better opportunity to forge a stronger working relationship,” Hall said. “Additionally, it will allow us to build the necessary infrastructure that is so important to have in order to successfully compete within the mid-major level.”