UMBC announced on Thursday, March 3, that head coach of the men’s basketball team Aki Thomas has been relieved of his coaching duties after serving four years as head coach and a disappointing 7–25 overall season for the Retrievers.
Thomas leaves UMBC with an overall record of 28–95 and without giving the team a single season record above .500. Thomas became the head coach in 2012 after serving as an assistant coach for five years. During Thomas’ time as an assistant coach, he served under former head coach Randy Monroe as a member of the team’s first and only NCAA Division I Championships appearance, as well as the school’s only America East Tournament and Regular Season Champions titles.
“I appreciate the contributions that Aki Thomas and his staff have made to our program,” said Director of Athletics Tim Hall. “Coach Thomas represented UMBC with a positive attitude and outstanding values during his entire tenure at UMBC. He is an exceptional person, and I wish him success in his future endeavors.”
Thomas’ last game as head coach was in the quarter finals of the America East playoff tournament. The eighth seeded UMBC lost against the first seeded Stony Brook University, 76–86, and UMBC was eliminated from the tournament. UMBC only trailed one point at halftime and held a short lead in the second half, but Stony Brook quickly retook it to win the game.
This season the Retrievers finished with both the worst overall and conference record, 3–13. The team also finished last in defensive rebounds, recovering only 23.1 per game and last in three point shooting defense percentage with .380. Opponents also outscored them by a total 272 points.
Thomas had previously signed a two-year contract extension in 2013 after leading the team to an 8 win season, the most since the 2008–2009 season. UMBC has already begun a search to find their next head coach.