ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies on Tuesday announced that Matt Thomas would be the team’s new head coach. Thomas replaces Mike Haviland, who resigned on May 28 after coaching the Boardwalk Bullies for three seasons.
“I’m thrilled to have this kind of opportunity at this stage of my career,” said Thomas, who was an assistant coach with Atlantic City the past two seasons. “I know the fans in Atlantic City are passionate about a winning team and I’m ready to meet that challenge and provide them with another one this season and beyond.”
The 28-year-old Thomas becomes the youngest active head coach in the ECHL surpassing Derek Wilkinson of the Charlotte Checkers, who will turn 30 on July 29. Thomas joins Ray Edwards, who was 28 years old when named head coach of Huntington in 1998, as one of the youngest coaches in league history.
“As an organization, we had two goals in mind during our search for a new head coach. We wanted to find someone who can continue our winning philosophy as well as someone with whom our fans can identify. I think the selection of Matt Thomas achieves both of those goals,” said Dan Belisle, Atlantic City Vice President and General Manager. “I’ve been very impressed watching Matt work under Mike Haviland the past two seasons. He has proven himself to be a skilled recruiter and a good teacher of the game. In my opinion, he is more than deserving of this opportunity.”
Thomas joined the staff in Atlantic City prior to 2002-03 after 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 Ontario 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.