After finishing the season in last place and a quarterfinal loss to Stony Brook, Aki Thomas’ time at UMBC has come to a close.
“I appreciate the contributions that Aki Thomas and his staff have made to our program,” athletic director Tim Hall said in a statement. “Coach Thomas represented UMBC with a positive attitude and outstanding values during his entire tenure at UMBC. He is an exceptional person, and I wish him success in his future endeavors.”
The 36 year-old head coach of the Retrievers spent five seasons as an assistant before taking over prior to the 2012-13 season when Randy Monroe abruptly resigned from the job. Thomas went 28-95 in four seasons at UMBC. His highest finish in conference play was a 5-11 record that earned him sixth place in 2014.
Thomas added Rodney Elliott, who won America East Rookie of the Year in 2014 and set the schools’ scoring record at the time. This past season the Retrievers added sophomore transfer Jairus Lyles who would have led the conference in scoring (22.9 ppg) if not for playing in fewer than 70% of his team’s games.
Junior Will Darley tied a school record converting eight three-pointers, but it was not enough on Wednesday night to beat top seeded Stony Brook in their quarterfinal playoff game.
Thomas is the first America East head coach since Ted Woodward at Maine in 2013 to be let go. Thomas had been signed to a contract that ran through April 30 at a base salary of $160,000.
The Retrievers have not had a winning season since 2008 when Thomas served as an assistant coach and the school made the NCAA tournament. The school said that a national search for a successor will begin immediately.
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.