March 7, 2013 in Sports

Tigers’ Thomason retiring

Janie Mccauley Associated Press

(Full-size photo)

Bob Thomason jokes about his remarkable coaching longevity at his alma mater by saying the ever-changing athletic directors over the years didn’t know better than to keep him around.

That’s hardly the case. Yet as Thomason prepares to step down in the coming weeks after a quarter-century guiding the Pacific program, he realizes how special it is to stay at one school for so long in this day of high-pressure, high-turnover coaching tenures in college athletics.

Pacific (17-12, 11-5 Big West) will honor Thomason when the second-place Tigers host their final home game Saturday against conference leader Long Beach State.

For two decades, Thomason has fought for Pacific’s return to the West Coast Conference, and the Tigers are headed there next season to play with new No. 1 Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.

Thomason’s last season as a player for Pacific marked the last time the Tigers were a member of the WCC.

“Obviously, going back to my alma mater, I had a great experience playing at Pacific and being there,” Thomason said. “I love the school so much. … It’s been great for my family. I’ve enjoyed my experience.”

Thomason, who has coached more games than anyone in program history, is 431-321 at Pacific and the Big West’s career wins leader after passing Jerry Tarkanian in early December.

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