Email J-Bob Thomas
J-Bob Thomas enters his first season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas Tech in 2013. Thomas will work primarily with the Red Raider catchers and assist with the team's hitters while serving as the program's recruiting coordinator. Thomas was named an assistant coach with the Red Raiders on June 20, 2012.
Thomas, 29, came to Texas Tech after spending seven seasons as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Howard College. During his time at Howard he helped turn the Hawks into the winningest Division I junior college program in the nation during his last five seasons (247 wins - average of 49 wins per season) while winning the NJCAA D-I World Series in 2009 with an astonishing 63-1 overall record, which included a college baseball record 57-game win streak.
The overwhelming success during Thomas' tenure in Big Spring, Texas, made him one of the nation's top assistant coaches along with being regarded as one of the elite college baseball recruiters in the country at any level. Thomas served as Howard's hitting and catching coach while also working with the team's base runners in addition to his recruiting responsibilities.
Howard won at least 45 games during each of his last five seasons while Thomas was instrumental in the Hawks finishing in the top five in the country in hitting during each of his seven seasons, including leading the nation in batting on three occasions in 2008 (.430), 2009 (.421) and 2011 (.394).
Three of Thomas' hitters led the nation in hitting while he mentored a total of seven hitters that finished in the top 10 in the country in batting. His 2008 squad that led the NJCAA with a .430 average had four hitters tally at least a .446 average while Howard was the only program in the nation to have four of the top-25 hitters in the country. On a team loaded with talent, Tyler Ladendorf led the NJCAA batting .542 (91-for-168).
The following season in 2009, Howard once again led the country in batting (.421) with five hitters collecting at least 86 base hits - making Howard the only collegiate program in the nation with five of the top-20 hitters (base hits). The 2009 season also marked the second straight season that one of Thomas' hitters captured a national batting title as Will Calhoun batted .497.
The 2009 season was one to remember as the Hawks won the national title and broke the national record for consecutive victories (55 consecutive wins by Seminole State in 1987) on their way to a perfect regular season and to 57 straight wins. Following their only loss of the season, Howard won six straight games, including every game at the JUCO World Series while capturing the national championship.
Howard won a school record 53 consecutive conference games from 2008-2010 while recording a top-10 NJCAA ranking in 22 consecutive weekly polls. In fact, during Thomas' final five seasons at Howard, the Hawks received an NJCAA ranking in 42 consecutive polls (2008-2012). An even more amazing fact is that Howard received a top-five national ranking during 19 consecutive regular season national polls from 2008-2010.
Thomas helped guide Howard to a school-record four straight conference championships, with title runs in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Overall, Howard went 321-88 during Thomas' seven seasons.
He coached 14 NJCAA All-Americans at Howard, including seven first team selections (2008-2012) - which led the nation during that time frame. In seven seasons at Howard, Thomas coached 52 Western Junior College Athletic Conference All-Conference selections, 23 NJCAA All-Region V picks, six WJCAC Player of the Year selections, five NJCAA Rawlings Big Stick Award winners, four WJCAC Pitcher of the Year selections, three NJCAA batting champions, two NJCAA Players of the Year and one Easton National Defensive Player of the Year.
The Hawks produced several of the top defensive players in the country under Thomas' tutelage as five players were awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove Award during a four-year span (2009-2012) as players selected as having the best defensive seasons in the country at their respective positions.
Thomas consistently had one of the top catchers in the Region V, which was evident following five of his seven catchers signing with Big 12 or Southeastern Conference programs. The following catchers played for Thomas at Howard before signing with their respective Division I programs: Jeff Ward (Texas Tech), Miles Hamblin (Ole Miss), Monk Kreder (Arkansas), Tanner Toal (Oklahoma) and Rick Stover (Oklahoma State.
Also under Thomas' guidance, Howard had the nation's top base stealer in back-to-back years as Tyler Ladendorf (65-of-65) became the first NJCAA player in over 20 years to lead the nation in stolen bases without being caught stealing, and Cameron Monger (57-of-60) both led the nation in stolen bases.
In fact, Howard led the nation in stolen bases three straight years (2007-2009) while six Hawks finished the season ranked in the top-10 in the nation in stolen bases.
Thomas coached 15 players at Howard that led the nation in a major offensive statistical category, including triples, runs, home runs and RBI with three national batting champions, two players leading the nation in stolen bases, two players leading the country in doubles, two players leading the nation in base hits and twice having the nation's leader in on-base percentage.
Overall, in seven seasons, Thomas' offensive players ranked in 101 national top-25 statistical categories.
The success of the Howard program during Thomas' seven seasons was noticed across the country as 71 players signed at NCAA Division I programs - an average of seven players a year. Included in that figure were a school-record 19 players that signed with an NCAA D-I program in 2009, and 17 players off of the 2012 team that inked a national letter of intent with a D-I program. In addition, among the 17 signees in 2012, Howard had 15 players signed with a Big 12, Southeastern Conference or Pac-12 program.
Numerous professional scouts made their way to see the Howard program during Thomas' time as the assistant coach as 29 players were taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft.
Three of Thomas' players were selected among the top-10 rounds in the draft, including Tyler Ladendorf - the 2008 NJCAA batting champion - who went No. 60 overall (2nd Round) to the Minnesota Twins after leading the nation with a .542 average, 91 hits, 29 doubles, five triples, 16 home runs, 82 RBI and 31 stolen bases.
Right-handed pitcher Pedro Villarreal was selected in 2008 as the 209th overall pick in the seventh round by the Cincinnati Reds.
Another one of Thomas' top players, 2011 NJCAA Player of the Year Tyler Collins, was taken in the top-10 rounds as Collins went to the Detroit Tigers in the sixth round (197th pick) of the 2011 MLB Draft. Collins had one of the top seasons in recent memory for a junior college player as he nearly won the triple crown (BA-HR-RBI). He finished second in the country in hitting (.488), he led the nation with 19 home runs and ranked second in the country in RBI (82). Collins led the NJCAA in runs (87), base hits (105) and doubles (34). He was third in the nation in on-base percentage (.561).
Not only was Thomas successful in his teaching on the field, but his influence in the classroom was also significant as the Hawks had a total of 71 student-athletes graduate from 2008-2012, following Thomas and academic advisor Linda Conway, who initiated Howard's academic advising program in the fall of 2007.
The work Thomas and his student-athletes put into the classroom showed up immediately as the Hawks finished third in the nation in 2007 with a 3.32 team grade point average.
Among the top academic student-athletes that Thomas mentored were Cameron Monger (2008) and Chase Durham (2011), who both were awarded the Howard College Presidential Award. In addition, C.J. Manning was a recipient of the American Legion Award in 2012.
Prior to beginning his collegiate coaching career at Howard, Thomas spent a summer coaching in the Texas Collegiate League with the Coppell Copperheads. Thomas helped lead the Copperheads to a championship season with a 31-17 record and a Tris Speaker division title.
He spent the 2004 summer as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mustangs - a perennial high school summer baseball powerhouse - under the direction of Sam Carpenter, who is one of the most prominent select baseball coaches in the country.
A graduate of Abilene Christian University in 2005 with a degree in mass communications, Thomas was a four-year all-conference catcher while beginning his career at Howard College before transferring to ACU and finishing his degree in four years.
Thomas' collegiate playing career included throwing out 30 percent of would-be base stealers and tallying a .320 career batting average. He completed his college career being named to the All-Tournament team at the 2004 Lone Star tournament where ACU finished in the top-10 in the country with a 42-17 overall record while claiming its second consecutive league championship.
A native of Duncanville, Texas, Thomas played for legendary coach Bob Rombach at Duncanville High School where he led his team to three straight Texas High School state playoff appearances (1998-2000). Thomas was born in Duncanville, Texas, on October 30, 1982.
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