Email J-Bob Thomas
J-Bob Thomas enters his fourth season as the recruiting coordinator/assistant coach at Texas Tech in 2016. Thomas works primarily with the Red Raider catchers and assists with the team's hitters while serving as the program's recruiting coordinator.
Thomas enters his 11th year in collegiate baseball in 2016 -- his fourth on head coach Tim Tadlock's coaching staff at Tech. He was named assistant coach/recruiting coordinator with the Red Raiders on June 20, 2012.
The Red Raiders first recruiting class under Tadlock with Thomas as recruiting coordinator received a top-25 ranking by Perfect Game (24th) and was tabbed 27th nationally by Collegiate Baseball. It marked the first time Tech had a nationally-ranked recruiting class by Collegiate Baseball since 2001.
Led by Thomas' recruiting efforts, Tech received a 13th ranked 2014 recruiting class, giving the Red Raiders back-to-back nationally-ranked recruiting classes for the first time since 2000-01. The No. 13 national ranking is tied for the highest in school history (2000). The 2014 class was also ranked 23rd by Baseball America, which marked the program's first-ever ranking in BA's recruiting class rankings.
Thomas help compile Tech's best class to date in 2015 as he signed a group that ranked as high as ninth by several publications. The class was highlighted by three players drafted among the top 50 picks of the MLB First-Year Player Draft -- Josh Naylor (No. 12 overall), Trent Clark (No. 15 overall) and Tony Santillan (No. 49). It marked the first time in program history where Tech has had multiple signees selected in the first round of the MLB Draft.
Of those recruited and signed under Thomas as recruiting coordinator at Tech, 17 have been selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft, including nine taken in the top-15 rounds.
Thomas' efforts on the recruiting front helped lead Tech to its best season in school history in 2014 as the Red Raiders won the NCAA Coral Gables Regional and NCAA Lubbock Super Regional while advancing to the program's first-ever College World Series in Omaha. It marked Tech's first-ever NCAA Regional title and first appearance in school history at a Super Regional.
The Red Raiders finished the season with 45 wins -- fourth most in school history. Tech posted the biggest turnaround in school history going from 26 wins in 2013 to 45 wins the following season (+19 wins). It is the second biggest turnaround in Big 12 history.
Tech set 10 school records in 2014, including home wins (33), shutouts (9), ERA during aluminum bat era -- since 1974 (3.11) and fielding percentage (.980). In fact, Tech set a team fielding percentage school record during each of Thomas' first two seasons with the Red Raiders.
Dusek had a historic freshman campaign while breaking the Big 12 freshman record for ERA (1.94). He became the first left-handed pitcher in school history to earn Freshman All-America honors and set a school record for wins in an NCAA postseason claiming the win in the NCAA Regional second round against Miami (3-0) and shutting out No. 16 College of Charleston (1-0) in the NCAA Super Regional to advance to the College World Series.
In fact, Dusek became the first Red Raider freshman to ever start on the mound in the NCAA postseason while leading Tech to its first-ever shutout in an NCAA Tournament game while blanking the Miami Hurricanes for the first time in an NCAA game since 1995. In addition, he is one of only two pitchers in school history to post a perfect record (8-0) with at least seven decisions during a season. His eight wins marked a new freshman record at Texas Tech.
Red Raider outfielder Tyler Neslony became the first player in school history to lead the Big 12 in batting (.375) while first baseman Eric Gutierrez became the second player in school history -- and the first since 2004 -- to lead the Big 12 in home runs (12) and RBI (58).
Designated hitter/outfielder Adam Kirsch transferred to Tech for his senior season in 2014 and made an immediate impact, batting .307 with 10 home runs and 51 RBI while being named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. He is only the second Red Raider to earn that award.
A total of 10 Red Raiders received All-Big 12 honors in 2014 -- including six that received first and second team accolades. Shortstop Tim Proudfoot, first baseman Eric Gutierrez and designated hitter Adam Kirsch were named to the first team while Tyler Neslony, Chris Sadberry and Hunter Redman earned second team recognition.
Thomas and the Red Raiders ranked among the top three in the Big 12 in 12 statistical categories, including leading the league in triples and slugging percentage. Tech finished in the top-30 nationally in 10 statistical categories, including triples (3rd), double plays (6th), fielding percentage (6th), shutouts (14th), hits (15th) and runs (17th) to name a few.
Six Red Raiders were drafted or signed free agent contracts with Major League Baseball organizations in 2014, including catcher Hunter Redman who was selected in the eighth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Redman became the highest drafted Red Raider catcher since 2006. An All-Big 12 second team pick, Redman was the first Tech catcher to receive All-Big 12 during his first season at Tech since 2002.
In addition, the Red Raiders received 18 consecutive national rankings and for just the sixth time in school history finished the regular season with 40 victories. Tech swept six series -- its most since 2002 -- including three Big 12 series. The Red Raiders went 14-10 in league play, which marked its most wins in Big 12 play since 2004.
Tech's historic 2014 season also included a 16-game home win streak to finish the season (school record to end a year) as its win streak to end the season marked the longest active streak in the nation. Not only did Red Raider Nation rank 20th in the country in total attendance (89,355 fans) but sold out its NCAA Super Regional against College of Charleston in less than 40 minutes. Tech had 4,811 fans back-to-back days as the Red Raiders swept the Super Regional to advance to Omaha. Tech tied a school record winning 33 games at home (33-4) while ranking second in the nation in home winning percentage (.892).
Tech's pitching staff engineered one of the most dynamic pitching efforts in recent memory during the 2014 postseason. The Red Raiders posted a 0.76 ERA during eight NCAA Tournament games while recording 64 scoreless innings (72 total innings pitched) with 27 consecutive scoreless innings in three straight shutouts -- one to clinch the Coral Gables Regional and back-to-back 1-0 shutouts over College of Charleston in the Lubbock Super Regional to advance to the CWS.
Tech tied an NCAA all-time record with four shutouts in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, a feat that had only previously been accomplished by Cal State Fullerton (2004), Pepperdine (1992), Arizona State (1972), Florida State (1970), St. John's (1968) and Wake Forest (1955). In addition, entering the postseason, the Red Raiders had played 33 games in the NCAA Tournament (1995-2004) and had never posted a shutout. It marked the first time Tech had three consecutive shutouts since 1976.
The Red Raiders carried that momentum into a 31-24 finish in 2015, Thomas' third season, marking the first time since 2005-06 that Tech had posted consecutive 30-win seasons. The Red Raiders completed Big 12 play at 13-11 overall, securing a tie for third place in the conference standings, Tech's highest finish since the 2004 season. It was also the second-straight season where Tech had finished among the top four in the Big 12 standings, a first for the Red Raiders since the 2001 and 2002 campaigns.
Over the past two years alone (2014-15), Tech has combined for 76 victories -- its most over a two-year span since the 2001 and 2002 seasons (85 wins). In addition, the Red Raiders have also combined for 27 wins in Big 12 play, their most since those same two seasons.
Taylor became the first Red Raider to earn All-America honors since Thomas' arrival as he was third team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). His selection marked the first time since John Neely in 2011 where a Red Raider pitcher garnered All-America accolades.
Gutierrez joined Taylor in collecting national accolades as he was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Rawlings Gold Glove Team, becoming just the second Red Raider in program history to collect the honor. Gutierrez, one of six Red Raiders also on the All-Big 12 teams, ended his junior year with an impressive .992 fielding percentage.
During Thomas' first season at Tech, Tech fielded the youngest team in the nation. The Red Raiders had 22 newcomers that saw action, a number that led the nation.
The Red Raiders won their Big 12 Conference series opener in 2013 taking two of three games over Texas in Austin. It marked the first time Tech had won a series over the Longhorns in Austin since 2001 and was Tech's first series win over Texas since 2002.
Two players received Freshmen All-America honors during Thomas' first season while first baseman Eric Gutierrez (Mission, Texas) and catcher/designated hitter Jarrard Poteete (Braggs, Okla.) were recognized.
In 2013, Texas Tech had four All-Big 12 selections (one All-Freshman team pick), four Academic All-Big 12 picks and three MLB Draft picks, including fifth-round right-handed pitcher Trey Masek (Chicago Cubs).
Thomas came to Texas Tech after spending seven seasons as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Howard College.
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. Thomas served as Howard's hitting and catching coach while also working with the team's base runners.
Thomas was instrumental in the Hawks leading the nation in hitting three times (2008 - .430... 2009 - .421... 2011 - .394) while finishing in the top five in the country in hitting during each of his seven seasons.
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.
In 2009 the Hawks won the national title and broke the all-time record for consecutive victories (previous record was 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.
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.
He mentored 71 players at Howard that signed at NCAA Division I programs, an average of seven players a year. In 2009, Thomas helped send 19 players to the D-I level and he coached 17 players in 2012 that signed letters of intent with D-I programs. In addition, 15-of-17 signees in 2012 went to Big 12, SEC or Pac-12 programs.
Thomas coached 29 players at Howard that were selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft, including three top-10 selections.
Thomas' student-athletes at Howard were also successful in the classroom as 71 of his players graduated from 2008-2012. Thomas, along with academic advisor Linda Conway, initiated Howard's academic advising program in the fall of 2007. Howard finished third in the nation in 2007 with a 3.32 team grade-point average.
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.
HOWARD COLLEGE HIGHLIGHTS (2006-2012):
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