Matt Thomas became the first coaching casualty of this year, after Alaska-Anchorage announced it would not renew his contract for next season.
The program was hampered, in large part, by the news, two years ago, that it was on the verge of being disbanded by the school. That situation ultimately resolved itself, though recruiting issues still remained as a result, at a school where it’s already notoriously difficult to attract players.
Thomas’ Seawolves were just 4-26-4 this past season, including 4-21-3 in the WCHA. The team had lost 19 of 20 games before ending the season with a pair of wins against rival Alaska. But it wasn’t enough to save Thomas’ job. In five seasons at the helm, Thomas, a graduate of RIT, was 48-105-21. The Seawolves were 18-16-4 in his first season, 2013-14, but never won more than 11 games in any season after that.
UAA is one of only two teams nationally to not qualify for the playoffs; the WCHA is the only conference that doesn’t include every team in its tournament. UAA and Lake Superior State failed to qualify.
“We want to thank Matt for his contributions to Seawolf hockey, UAA and the Anchorage community, and we wish him and his family all the best,” said Tim McDiffett, UAA interim director of athletics.
The school said that a nationwide search for a new head coach will begin immediately.