LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech head baseball coach Tim Tadlock hired the first assistant to his coaching staff on Wednesday with the addition of J-Bob Thomas, who will work primarily with the Red Raider catchers and assist with the team’s hitters.
Thomas, 29, spent the previous seven seasons as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Howard College.
“J-Bob has worked extremely hard to earn this opportunity,” Tadlock said. “We are very excited to add him to our coaching staff.”
During his time at Howard, Thomas helped turn the Hawks into the winningest Division I junior college program in the nation (247 wins – averaged 49 wins a season) while winning the NJCAA D-I World Series in 2009 with an astonishing 63-1 overall record, which included a college baseball record 57-game win streak.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join Coach Tadlock’s staff and to be a part of the Texas Tech family,” Thomas said. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”
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 in addition to his recruiting responsibilities.
Howard won at least 45 games during each of his last five seasons while Thomas was instrumental in the Hawks finishing in the top five in the country in hitting during each of his seven seasons, including leading the nation in batting on three occasions in 2008 (.430), 2009 (.421) and 2011 (.394).
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.
Howard won a school record 53 consecutive conference games from 2008-2010 while recording a top-10 NJCAA ranking in 22 consecutive weekly polls. In fact, during Thomas’ final five seasons at Howard, the Hawks received an NJCAA ranking in 42 consecutive polls (2008-2012). An even more amazing fact is that Howard received a top-five national ranking during 19 consecutive regular season national polls from 2008-2010.
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.
Howard led the nation in stolen bases three straight years (2007-2009) while six Hawks finished the season ranked in the top-10 in the nation in stolen bases.
Thomas coached 15 players at Howard that led the nation in a major offensive statistical category, including triples, runs, home runs and RBI with three national batting champions, two players leading the nation in stolen bases, two players leading the country in doubles, two players leading the nation in base hits and twice having the nation’s leader in on-base percentage.
Overall, in seven seasons, Thomas’ offensive players ranked in 101 national top-25 statistical categories.
The success of the Howard program during Thomas’ seven seasons was noticed across the country as 71 players signed at NCAA Division I programs – an average of seven players a year. Included in that figure were a school-record 19 players that signed with an NCAA D-I program in 2009.
Numerous professional scouts made their way to see the Howard program during Thomas’ time as the assistant coach as 29 players were taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft, including three top-10 round MLB Draft picks.
Not only was Thomas successful in his teaching on the field, but his influence in the classroom was also significant as the Hawks had a total of 71 student-athletes graduate from 2008-2012.
The work Thomas and his student-athletes put into the classroom showed up immediately as the Hawks finished third in the nation in 2007 with a 3.32 team grade point average.
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.