Turtle Thomas has been an assistant coach for two College World Series champions.
A catcher in college, Thomas began his coaching career in 1977 at T. Wingate Andrews High School. He was assistant coach at Clemson University from 1978 to 1985, helping the team to the 1980 College World Series. He was assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgia Tech in 1986-1987.
Thomas became assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Miami in 1988, helping the team to nine College World Series trips in 12 years, including the title in the 1999 College World Series. From 2000-2006, he was assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Louisiana State University, getting three more trips to the College World Series including the title in 2000.
Thomas had 19 straight recruiting classes in Collegiate Baseball's top 10 from 1988-2006. No other recruiting coordinator in the country had the #1 class four times, as Thomas did. In 2007, he was assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Arizona State University, which made it to the College World Series. During his years as a recruiter, Thomas brought over 60 major leaguers to his schools, including Charles Johnson, Pat Burrell, Alex Fernandez, Danny Graves, Aubrey Huff, Aaron Hill and Brad Hawpe.
Thomas became a head coach for the first time in 2007, when he took over the helm at Florida International University. In 9 years, Thomas won 282 games and led FIU to a pair of conference titles and three NCAA tournament appearances.