Bob Thomason will coach in his fifth NCAA Tournament when No. 15 Pacific plays No. 2 Miami at 11:10 a.m. on Friday and associate coach Ron Verlin has been along for the rid for all of them.
Verlin is now in his 19th season as Thomason’s top assistant and athletic director Ted Leland tabbed him last May as the internal candidate to replace Thomason as he retires at the end of the season after 25 years at his alma mater.
Thomason and Verlin have tried to maintain the team’s routine this season and obviously been quite successful. Still, last week’s run at the Big West Tournament that saw wins over UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and UC Irvine, was an emotional one.
“The difference is knowing we’re not going to be together at the en do fth this year and the last few games have been emotional for both of us,” Verlin said. “We got in the car last Friday night (after win over Cal Poly) and I just said we have more run us. One more run.”
Verlin said adding 10 players to a depleted roster in the spring of 2011 and getting them to the NCAA Tournament 22 months later has been
“It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done,” Verlin said. “We knew we had the pieces, it was a matter of fitting them all together.”