May 26, 2011

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Piedmont Tabs Thomas to Launch New Team

from press release

DEMOREST, Ga. -- The Department of Athletics at Piedmont College is pleased to announce Emily Thomas as the inaugural Head Coach of the school’s newly added women’s lacrosse program which joined the listing of now 15 intercollegiate sports offered by the institution. Thomas begins her tenure in June 2011 with a track record of success as both a coach and a player with a pair of Division III Women’s Lacrosse National Championships to her name.

“We are extremely pleased to add Emily to our coaching staff at Piedmont," said Director of Athletics John Dzik. "Her background of experience in the sport of women’s lacrosse coupled with her ability to start successful collegiate lacrosse programs in the Southeast made her natural for our situation.”

Thomas makes the trek up to Demorest after spending the last year in Savannah, GA guiding the women’s lacrosse program at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) member. During her time in south Georgia, the coach directed all aspects of the successful program leading the Bees to a program best 11-4 record in her only season at the helm of the club program finishing off the season on a six-game winning streak.

No stranger to the development of a new collegiate athletic program, Thomas was hired in October of 2006 as the first leader of the women’s lacrosse program at NCAA Division III institution Birmingham Southern College located in northern Alabama. While at the helm of the Panther program which began as a club sport in 2008 before becoming a varsity sport in 2009, Thomas led her squads to an 18-9 overall record (.667 winning percentage) in two varsity seasons including a 12-3 mark in her final campaign. The coach also mentored a pair of Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) All-Region selections during her time with the BSC program.

With an overall collegiate coaching record of 29-13 (.690 winning percentage), it’s no surprise that Thomas knows how to win as a coach as she suffered only a pair of losses in her four-year collegiate playing career with the College of New Jersey women’s lacrosse team and was a part of two undefeated NCAA Division III Women’s Lacrosse National Championship teams at the northern school with TCNJ taking titles in 1998 and 2000. Having also won a Division III National Championship in 1999 with the Lion field hockey team as well, Thomas was an IWLCA First Team All-American selection in her senior season while leading TCNJ to a national title and was also an All-Tournament selection at the 2000 National Championship Tournament.

A two-time All-Region honoree in a brilliant four-year career, Thomas served as the lacrosse team’s captain during her final season on campus, a year in which the Lions went an undefeated 17-0 en route to their second national championship in three years. Additionally, Thomas’ 1999 team that suffered its only defeat of the season in the final four of the Division III National Tournament sported the nation’s best scoring margin winning by an average of 10.80 goals per game and the country’s top scoring defense allowing a paltry 4.87 goals per game over a 15 game season – the fourth best mark in that category since the NCAA began keeping the record in 1996. The only remaining defeat in Thomas' stellar collegiate lacrosse career came in the national championship game of her freshman year as the midfielder led the program to a 60-2 record in her four years with the Lions.

Coach Thomas’ experience with the ever-growing sport in the south is not limited to the collegiate ranks as she spent four years on the club level first with Future Elite Lacrosse in Washington, D.C. from 2002-2004 before moving on to Tri-State Lacrosse in New Jersey where she coached from 2004-2006 until taking the job at Birmingham Southern. While also having experience as an official in the sport, Thomas has worked on several camp and clinic coaching staffs around the country during her time as a collegiate coach including Georgia Tech Lacrosse Camps and directed her own at Birmingham Southern from 2008-2010.

Since 2006, Thomas has also been an active member of US Lacrosse and the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association attending both the IWLCA Annual Convention and the US Lacrosse National Convention since joining the organizations.

"I would like to thank John Dzik and President Ray Cleere for the opportunity to start the women's lacrosse program at Piedmont,” stated Coach Thomas. “I am very excited to take on the challenge of developing this program to be competitive in the USA South Athletic Conference. Piedmont has a strong commitment to both academic and athletic success and I look forward to building a foundation that provides student-athletes with the opportunity to be successful at all they do."

A native of Collingswood, NJ, Thomas earned her Bachelor of Science in Corporate Fitness from the College of New Jersey in 2000 before moving on to earn her Master of Science in Health Promotion Management in 2003 from American University in Washington, D.C.


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