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It's why they call him COACH T
Mike Champion photo
Mike Champion photo
December 25th 2008 - Besides being a darn good WISSOTA driver, Mark Thomas earns his living whith another passion in his life, "coaching". Since we are right in the middle to basketball season, seems appropriate to post this again. -BRONCO

Mark Thomas begins his 21st year for the 2007-08 season as the coach of the UW-Stout women's basketball team. Thomas took over a perennial loser in 1987, inheriting a team that won only two games in the two seasons before he joined the Stout staff. Since then, he has combined relentless recruiting with a run-and-gun philosophy to make the Devils one of the most successful - and exciting - small college teams in the nation. Thomas, who is the dean of WIAC women's basketball coaches, has a 332-174 record, the most wins of any coach in WIAC women's basketball history.

Thomas has made a habit of getting the best out of his players. Over the past 16 seasons, the Blue Devils have finished in the top four of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) - one of the top NCAA Division III women's basketball conferences - 15 times.

In 2007, the Blue Devils won their fifth WIAC title, and Stout advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament for the ninth time. Thomas was named the WIAC coach of the year, the sixth time he earned the honors, and was also named the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) coach of the year for Division III women's basketball for the second consecutive year.

Contact Information:
222 Sports & Fitness Center
In 2002, Thomas guided the Blue Devils to their first ever undisputed conference title - not just in women's basketball, but in any of the Stout women's sports - and was named the conference coach of the year for the third time. In 1997, the Blue Devils won their first ever conference title, a shared title.

Are the Blue Devils a changing team? There may be some changes - i.e., the Blue Devils have added some height and size to their post positions - but as long as Thomas is at the helm, Stout followers will be able to expect the run-and-gun style winning offense which has managed to attract more and more fans each year.

Look for the Blue Devils to shoot the lights out again this year. And Thomas has proven this style as a consistent winner, with his winning percentage at .664. Thomas coached teams have figured into 83 percent of all Stout wins since 1971.

Thomas stresses not only athletics, but academics. Recently, the Blue Devils ranked No. 1 in the country in grade-point average for Division III women's basketball teams and the Blue Devil squad is consistently one of the top ranked academic squads, ranking in the top 10 academically since the award was established.

In addition to his duties as women's basketball coach, Thomas also serves as an assistant football coach and an assistant baseball coach. Before coming to Stout, Thomas was an assistant football and baseball coach at Spring Valley, and co-coached a highly successful girls' basketball program for his alma matter.

Thomas has served as the chair of the Central Regional Advisory Committee, the group that ranks regional teams throughout the year.

During the summer, Thomas is a regular at area stock car tracks, both as a spectator and driver. Thomas' summer camp attracts hundreds of elementary, middle school and high school-aged girls from the surrounding area and beyond.

Thomas was a two-sport letterwinner at UW-Superior, quarterbacking the Yellowjacket football team and playing catcher for the baseball team. He and his wife, Tracy, have two daughters, Lindsay and Leslie, and a son, Mitchell.

The Line on Thomas
NAIA District 14 champions, 1991
NAIA National Tournament, 1991
NCAA Division III playoffs, 1992, 93, 94, 96, 97, 02, 05, 06, 07
NCAA Division III second round, 1997, 2005, 2006
NCAA Division III Sweet 16, 2005, 2006
WIAC Coach of the Year, 1993, 97, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007
WBCA Division III women's coach of the year, 2005, 2006
WIAC regular season and tournament champions, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007
WWIAC co-champions, 1997

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