Michigan State University men’s basketball head coach Tom Izzo announced that David Thomas will become the Director of Basketball Operations for the men’s basketball team after working with the women’s team last season. Thomas, who was a member of the 2000 Spartan men’s basketball national championship team, spent last season with the MSU women’s team in a similar position.
Thomas replaces Kevin Pauga on the men’s basketball staff. Pauga, who has been the Director of Men’s Basketball Operations for the past six seasons, will move from the men’s basketball program to the administrative team as an Assistant Athletic Director.
“David Thomas is a great addition to our staff as Director of Basketball Operations. He brings experience from both the business world and athletics, having worked with Suzy Merchant and the women’s basketball team,” Izzo said. “He also provides a link to our past, having been a member of the 2000 NCAA Championship team, as well as four Big Ten Championship and three Final Four squads. Continuing to build our tradition and providing that link to the past is always a priority of mine. Adding a former student-athlete to our staff who experienced success on and off the court is certainly a plus. I look forward to what he can bring to our program in his new role. I know DT learned a lot in his year working with the women’s program, and I’d like to thank Suzy for being supportive of his move over to our team.”
“We are blessed to have him as part of the MSU family,” Merchant said of Thomas. “We are thrilled for his new opportunity with Coach Izzo and to get back to his roots. He was a tremendous benefit to our program, and will continue to be an asset for the men’s team as well.”
Thomas has been a staple of the Greater Lansing community since finishing his professional basketball career in 2009. Prior to returning to MSU, he spent two years working for Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, most recently as the Business Services Assistant Manager. Prior to that, Thomas was the owner and operator of Ever Green Car Wash & Detail in Lansing for four years. During that time, he also spent time as the host of the Spartan Fastbreak show on WLNS TV from 2010-12.
“I’m grateful to Coach Merchant for giving me this amazing opportunity a year ago. I have learned so much working for her and can’t thank her and her staff enough,” Thomas said. “I am going to miss working with these wonderful young women, but know that they are going to be raising championship banners very soon. I feel truly blessed to have this new opportunity to work with Coach Izzo and the men’s program. There aren’t too many people who get the chance to work for the program they played for. I’m looking forward to helping this team continue to excel at an elite level.”
Since 2002, Thomas founded, coordinated and managed the daily operations of the David Thomas Basketball Clinic. The camp, which reached over 300 athletes per year, was for both boys and girls ages 2-12. Thomas was also a board member of many local organizations, including the East Lansing Basketball Club, the Lauren Aitch Cancer Research Foundation, the Learn Live Lead Entrepreneurial Academy and the MSU Varsity S Club.
Thomas spent nine seasons playing professionally in Australia, for the Melbourne Tigers (2001-08) and the Cairns Taipans (2008-09). While with Melbourne, the team won the 2005-06 and 2007-08 national championships. In addition, Thomas was a member of the Canadian National teams from 2000-08, including representing his home country at the 2002 World Championships.
A versatile 6-7 guard/forward, Thomas played four seasons for MSU (1996-98, 99-01), highlighted by the 2000 national championship, four Big Ten championships and three Final Fours. During his senior season, Thomas was fourth on the team in assists and started the first 11 games of the season at point guard while Mateen Cleaves recovered from injury. In his Spartan career, Thomas averaged 3.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 114 career games, including 46 starts.
Thomas graduated from MSU in 2001 with a degree in advertising. He lives in East Lansing with his wife Toni, also a MSU grad, and their two children Kingston and Kennedy.