This is the ninth in a series of biographies on the head coaches of the 25 teams in the ECHL in 2006-07.
ECHL.com will post a different coach’s biography each day.
Matt Thomas was named head coach and general manager of the Fresno Falcons on June 2, 2005. The 30-year-old Thomas is the youngest active head coach in the ECHL.
In his first season in 2005-06, the Falcons reached the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the first time ever and advanced to within one goal of the Kelly Cup Finals before losing in double overtime of Game 7 in the National Conference Finals to Kelly Cup champion Alaska. Fresno won its first regular season division title and reached 100 points for the first time ever after finishing atop the Pacific Division at 43-15-13.
Thomas was named head coach and director of hockey operations for Atlantic City in June 2004 at the age of 28, joining Ray Edwards, who was 28 years old when named head coach of Huntington in 1998, as one of the youngest coaches in the history of the ECHL. Atlantic City was 42-22-8 and finished one point shy of winning the regular season title in the North Division, advancing to the Kelly Cup Playoffs where it lost to Kelly Cup champion Trenton in the division semifinals. The Boardwalk Bullies led the league on January 2 with 42 points and 19 wins, earning Thomas the honor of coaching the National Conference in the ECHL All-Star Game, the fifth first-year coach since 1996 to be chosen.
Thomas was an assistant coach with Atlantic City for two seasons, helping to recruit many of the players who helped the Boardwalk Bullies win the Kelly Cup Championship in 2003.
Prior to Atlantic City, Thomas spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Maine. In 2001-02, the University of Maine went 26-11-7 and advanced to the NCAA Championship Game. Thomas spent one season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the Rochester Institute of Technology, which went 27-1-2 and advanced to the NCAA Division III Frozen Four.
Following a junior career in the Metro (Toronto) Junior A Hockey League, Thomas served as Captain and helped RIT achieve a No. 1 ranking while advancing to the NCAA Tournament during his senior year while earning Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III West All-Star honors.