Brian Thomas was named St. Bonaventure University women's swimming head coach by Director of Athletics Tim Kenney on April 21, 2016, and enters his third season at the helm of the Bonnies in 2018-19.
Thomas has guided a resurgence in Bonnies women's swimming since his arrival, leading the program to tremendous improvements across the board.
In his second season directing the program, the Bonnies put forth a year to remember in 2017-18.
During the season, the Bonnies recorded 11 school records and set four NCAA 'B' cuts while also breaking school records in four out of five relays. At Atlantic 10 Championships, St. Bonaventure improved to a fifth place finish, its best since 2011, and jumped up from a 10th place run the previous three years after securing four gold medals, one silver and three bronze at the conference meet. SBU also scored the 12th highest rate of improvement in NCAA Division I swimming.
Under Thomas' leadership, the Bonnies won 10 meets on the season and freshman Lina Kutsko was named Most Outstanding Performer of the meet at Atlantic 10 Championships. During the year, Bonnies also captured nine Atlantic 10 weekly honors for performer and rookie of the week, far and away the most in the conference.
St. Bonaventure swimmers have also excelled in the classroom during Thomas' tenure. In his first season at the helm, the team ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 15th in Division I for overall GPA. In 2017-18, the team again earned Scholar All-America Team accolades from the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America after posting a 3.41 cumulative team GPA.
Thomas brought a wealth of coaching experience to St. Bonaventure, having guided numerous student-athletes to a multitude of awards and accolades. In the season prior to his arrival in Western New York, he served as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UNLV, coaching school record holder and NCAA Division I qualifier Lina Rathsack.
Prior to UNLV, Thomas was an integral part of Western Kentucky's success during his time on the staff. The women's squad won the 2013 Sun Belt Championship title, while the WKU men's team were Conference USA champions in both 2014 and 2015. Promoted to associate head coach in the 2013-14 season after three years as an assistant for the Hilltoppers, Thomas worked with the team's freestylers, breaststrokers and IMers. He also served as the program's recruiting coordinator, and WKU's recruiting classes under Thomas garnered high praise, with the 2012 men's class ranking 22nd in the nation by CollegeSwimming.com.
In his role as leader of the breaststroke group, he coached WKU's Fabian Schwingenschlogl to All-America honors at the 2014 NCAA National Championships with an eighth-place finish in the finals of the 100 breast, and again in 2015 when Schwingenshlogl placed sixth in the 100 breast and 12th in the 200 breast. He also served in an assistant coach role for Claire Donahue, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. National Team member.
During his time in Bowling Green, Ky., Thomas served on the Kentucky Swimming Board of Directors, the local governing body for USA Swimming, and also was involved in a fellowship program with the American Swimming Coaches Association, a program intended to get young coaches involved in governance and leadership within the sport. Prior to joining the WKU staff, Thomas spent a year volunteering with the women's swimming and diving program at Rutgers University while working as a product specialist for Event Solutions International, a marketing firm based in East Brunswick, N.J.
Thomas’ coaching career also included stops at Rutgers and the University of Connecticut. He also spent time as the head coach of the University Aquatic Club in Storrs, Conn., and as the head coach of E.O. Smith High School in Mansfield, Conn. Thomas' teams at E.O. Smith set several school records, achieved a top-five finish at the Connecticut Class "L" State Championship and compiled a dual meet record of 28-8.
A graduate of UConn, Thomas was a four-year letterwinner for the Huskies’ swimming and diving team from 2001-05 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history.