Congratulations to Matt Thomas, who accepted the head coaching position at University of Alaska-Anchorage on Tuesday. He never had a losing season with the Stockton Thunder in four-plus years, and led it to its best season in 2012-13 with an ECHL Kelly Cup appearance.
He’ll be a tough guy to replace, but the candidates are already sending in resumes. Here’s a few observations on his departure:
* UAA really, really wanted Thomas. The Anchorage Daily News reported Thomkas and the school agreed to a five-year contract that will pay Thomas $150,000 annually and includes bonus clauses. The deal makes him the highest-paid employee in UAA athletic history.
* Thunder owner Brad Rowbotham was receiving resumes after it was announced Thomas was a finalist. He said he’s keeping a very open mind when it comes to candidates, but the next person to step behind the bench for the Thunder will have to have prior coaching experience and knowledge of the ECHL. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a former ECHL coach.
* The Thunder is also looking for a president, so next season this team mwill have a completely different look. Of the two positions, team president will be the tougher to fill.