Michael Thomas starts season five as the Bulls’ head coach with arguably the deepest team he has had during his tenure and the most improved team in the nation. The Bulls finished 12-5-4 in 2011, eleven more wins than it had the previous season, and an improvement of almost 200 places in the national RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). The team also made the Mid-American Conference tournament for the first time since 2003.
The 2011 season was certainly memorable for Thomas and the Bulls, as a talented freshman class meshed perfectly with a talented group of sophomores to give the team a complete facelift. The team ranked nationally in shutouts (with 11) and goalie Ainsley Wheldon wrote her name on every single season goalie record for the program. Three players were named to the postseason conference teams and the program made its second trip ever to the MAC semifinal round before losing to eventual champion Toledo.
Prior to coming to Buffalo, Thomas helped lead the University of Denver to four NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons as an assistant coach for the Pioneers. He helped the team to a 90-25-12 record during that time. The Pioneers made four NCAA Tournament appearances, including one following their 2007 Sun Belt Championship.
During the 2007 season, Denver defeated Stanford, who was ranked number one in the country at the time, by a 1-0 decision. In 2006, the Pioneers had an .848 winning percentage, sixth best in the nation. Denver was successful in the classroom too,as the team won the Sun Belt Conference team academic award with a 3.4 GPA. The Pioneers also had winning percentages in the national top 10 in 2002 (.857) and 2003 (.818).
Thomas was also a technical advisor and staff coach for the Colorado Fusion Soccer Club, where he directed over 40 teams, making it the fourth largest youth soccer club in Denver. In 2006, Thomas was a coach for the Olympic Development Program.
Prior to joining Denver, Thomas spent one season at the University of Memphis and a year at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. At Green Bay, he assisted with both the men’s and women’s program, becoming a Horizon League finalist with the men’s squad. While at Green Bay, Thomas acted as the northern coordinator for the girls Olympic Development Program.
Thomas was a professional soccer player in 1998-99 with the Myrtle Beach Sea Dawgs of the United Soccer League and again played in the league in 2000.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Fort Lewis College, graduating with honors in 1998. At Fort Lewis, Thomas was a member of the men’s soccer team that won three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships. Thomas received a Masters of Arts in Human Communication from the University of Denver in 2005. Thomas has also held an “A” License from the United States Soccer Federation since July 2004.