Former St. Bonaventure coach to head swimming and diving

Updated: July 12, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.

Brian Thomas will take over as head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs at GW.

Thomas will leave St. Bonaventure after a two-season stint with the program and join GW’s coaching staff, SwimSwam reported Wednesday. Thomas updated his Facebook profile to include the new title Wednesday night.

Thomas served as head coach for women’s swimming and diving at St. Bonaventure for two seasons.

Scott Eddy, the director of athletic communications at St. Bonaventure, confirmed Thomas’ departure in an email Wednesday.

Thomas takes over the program from former head coach James Winchester, who resigned in April after three seasons at GW.

Athletic Director Tanya Vogel said in a release Thursday night Thomas rose over other candidates for his work developing each athlete at St. Bonaventure.

“He presented a strong vision for sustainable growth for our men’s and women’s programs,” Vogel said in the release.

An athletic department spokesman declined to say when Thomas will begin the role and if he has met with swimmers in the program.

Thomas was named head coach of the women’s program at St. Bonaventure in 2016. Under Thomas’ leadership, the Bonnies finished 10th in the Atlantic 10 Championship in 2017 and jumped to secure a 5th place finish last year.

Prior to his stint at St. Bonaventure, Thomas was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UNLV from 2015-16 after spending five seasons at Western Kentucky as a coach and recruiting coordinator. On the women’s side, the Hilltoppers claimed the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Championship, and the men’s squad won the Conference USA Championship in 2014 and 2015 while Thomas was on staff.

Thomas was removed from his post as associate head coach at Western Kentucky in 2015 when the program was suspended for five years following hazing allegations.

At GW, Thomas inherits defending A-10 Champions on the men’s team. The Colonials grabbed the program’s second A-10 crown in as many years in February and are set to return 20 swimmers and divers from last year’s roster.

On the women’s side the Colonials finished in a program-high third place at the A-10 Championships this season and won three gold medals in the competition. The women’s squad will return 21 swimmers and divers this season.

“I’m a big believer in creating a culture that focuses on relationships first, and the environment within our team will be our greatest strength,” Thomas said in the release.

This post was updated to include statements from Tanya Vogel and Brian Thomas included in a release distributed after this article was published.

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