PORTSMOUTH — The Shawnee State University Athletic Department would like to thank Coach Delano Thomas for his tremendous service to SSU and the local community.
In April, SSU men’s basketball head coach Delano Thomas accepted the job at Florida Memorial University to fill the same position.
Coach Thomas has completed six seasons with the Bears as the head coach of the basketball team, helping transition the Bears from an average team to one of the top programs in the nation.
Thomas came to Shawnee State as a player, joining the Bears after playing his first two athletic seasons at Clark State Community College.
During his time here as a player, Thomas put Shawnee State in the spotlight, his Senior campaign he made First-Team NAIA All-American as well as claiming the AMC Player of the Year. In the record books at Shawnee Thomas is now second all-time in blocks, behind his former player E.J. Onu, and top 15 in rebounds, scoring average, and assists per game. All the accomplishments on the court led to being inducted into the Shawnee State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.
After his playing career at Shawnee, he moved to Europe and competed overseas. During that time of playing overseas, Thomas fell in love with the idea of coaching the game of Basketball. His first coaching experience came when he coached the Montevideo High School team to a 22-10 record. The next season he coached in Norway, coaching the U21, U18, and U14 boys, along with the U14 girls Ulriken Elite teams. His last stent of overseas work came when he coached the U15 boys and girls of Ulriken Elite, he took the girl’s team to a second-place finish in the Bergen Region.
Coach Thomas decided that it was time to come home and use his experience to coach at the college level. In the 2014-15 season, Thomas came back to where it all started and join coach Jeff Hamilton’s coaching staff. From the moment he joined, he made an instant impact helping the Bear’s big men. Thomas took over the program in 2017 and the program took off from there. Thomas led the Bears to a few memorable “first” moments as head coach, first conference championship, first conference tournament championship, first national championship appearance, and first national tournament championship.
Here is what Athletic Director Jeff Hamilton had to say,
“We can’t thank Coach Thomas enough for the positive impact he has made on the Shawnee State community. He has been the epitome of success since his arrival on campus in 2002. He earned conference Player of the Year honors as a player before returning as a coach, where his success has been unparalleled. He led the program to its first-ever national tournament appearance, only to eclipse that accomplishment, winning the NAIA National Championship the following year. Along the way, he has been a pillar in the community and the had a profound positive impact on numerous young people throughout his time at SSU. We wish him and his family all the best!”
Thank you, Coach Thomas, for all the great memories during your time here! We would like to wish you and your family good luck with your future endeavors.