FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
MIAMI – FIU Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia announced today that Head Baseball Coach Henry “Turtle” Thomas has signed a new contract extension with the University through the 2016 season.
“Over the past four seasons, Turtle Thomas has done a tremendous job in building one of the nation’s top baseball programs,” Garcia said. “It is great to see that he will continue to have that opportunity over the next five years. He is one of the hardest-working coaches in the game and the success that the baseball program has had is a testament to that hard work and dedication.”
“I’m extremely happy to sign an extension at FIU and to have the opportunity to build upon the success that this program has had over the past four seasons,” Thomas said. “The support Pete Garcia and the FIU community have given our program has been tremendous. I hope to be the coach here at FIU for many years to come.”
Thomas guided FIU to back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances in 2010 and 2011, while earning the 2010 Sun Belt Conference title – the program’s first since 1999. Since arriving at FIU, Thomas has amassed a record of 130-104-1. This past season, the Panthers were ranked as high as No. 20, nationally. With a record of 40-20-1, the 2011 campaign also marked the team’s first 40-win season since 2002.
The effort and work ethic Thomas has instilled on the field has also transferred to the classroom. Under Thomas, the FIU baseball team made continual improvement in the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Report (APR), culminating in the team’s highest multi-year (954) and single-year (990) scores last season – the highest for the program since the APR was implemented in 2003-04.
He has also seen a number of his players gain success beyond FIU. Since his arrival, 11 players have signed with Major League Baseball clubs.
Thomas was named head coach of the FIU baseball program on June 14, 2007.
The 2012 FIU baseball season is slated to start in mid-February.