Derek Thomas is entering his second season as assistant coach at UNLV as the recruiting coordinator and big man coach. Derek was instrumental in developing the offensive schemes that led the Mountain West Conference in scoring in 2001-02.
Thomas came to the Runnin' Rebel program after serving as a player personnel scout and assisting in perimeter player development for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. While in Atlanta, he worked with players such as Jason Terry and Dion Glover. Prior to that he served as an assistant coach at the University of Illinois, a position he held for three months before former Illini head coach Lon Kruger took over at the Hawks.
From 1999-2000, Thomas was an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota where he was the recruiting coordinator and defensive scheme coach for the program. He also worked with post-player development and assisted in game and practice preparation. He helped Joel Przybilla develop into a 2000 NBA Lottery pick.
Thomas served as an assistant coach on Coach Charlie Spoonhour's staff at Saint Louis from 1995-99, where his responsibilities included recruiting, on-floor coaching and videotape scouting. He was instrumental in the recruitment of the 1997 class that included the first McDonald's All-American, Larry Hughes, to attend Saint Louis. Hughes was named the 1998 National Freshman of the Year. The 1997 class appeared in two NCAA Tournaments (1998, 2000) and won a Conference USA Tournament championship.
Prior to coaching at Saint Louis, Thomas was the head coach of Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis. The Cadets posted a 45-36 record under his leadership. In 1994, CBC won its first district championship in 10 years. Thomas was named the Metro Catholic Conference coach of the year as CBC won the league title in 1995.
Thomas was a graduate assistant coach for two seasons (1989-91) under Spoonhour at Southwest Missouri State University. He left SMSU to become the "restricted earnings" coach at Saint Louis for the 1991-92 season.
Thomas is a graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he was an honorable mention All-MIAA player. He was co-captain of the Rivermen squad that reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen in 1998. His collegiate coaching career began with the Rivermen as a student assistant.
Thomas also was co-captain at Johnson County (Kan.) Community College and an All-Jayhawk East selection in 1986. He was a standout at Hickman Mills High School in Kansas City, Mo., where he was an all-metro and all-state selection.
Derek's father, Emmitt, is the secondary coach for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. Last season, he was the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. The elder Thomas played 13 years for the Kansas City Chiefs and is in the Chief's hall of fame.
Thomas has a bachelor's degree in physical education (from UMSL, 1989) and a master's degree in educational administration (from SMSU, 1991). He won a number of academic awards while attending Mo.-St. Louis and was president of Phi Epsilon Kappa.
Thomas, 36, is married to wife Julie and the couple has three daughters (Bailey, Samantha and Jade).