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Former Nicholls head coach Jay Thomas joins Demon football staff
NATCHITOCHES – Former Nicholls head football coach Jay Thomas, who guided the Colonels to the 2005 Southland Conference championship, has joined the Northwestern State coaching staff, Demons head coach Bradley Dale Peveto said Tuesday.
Thomas, head coach at Nicholls for the past five seasons from 2005-2009, will coach the defensive line for Northwestern. His appointment is subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana system.
As head coach or as a defensive line coach, Thomas has worked with 12 different players who earned all-conference accolades along the defensive line.
“We’re getting a great coach with a lot of tremendous experience and knowledge,” said Peveto. “He’s been a head coach in the Southland Conference for five years and has been coaching in this league for 13 years. Jay brings a wealth of knowledge coaching the defensive line and as a coordinator. He’s a great recruiter who clearly raised the talent level as head coach at Nicholls.
“Jay is a great guy, highly respected across the board, by football fans, high school coaches, and definitely by those who have competed against him and his Nicholls teams. He’s the total package and we’re tickled to bring him into our program,” said Peveto.
Thomas had immediate impact as head coach at Nicholls in 2005 following six seasons as the Colonels’ defensive coordinator.
After overcoming preseason adversity including disruptions related to Hurricane Katrina, he was named Southland Conference Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award after leading Nicholls to a 6-4 overall record that included being SLC co-champions. The Colonels reached the FCS playoffs for only the third time in school history and fell 14-12 at eventual semifinalist Furman.
In 2007, Thomas pulled off the biggest upset in school history when his Colonels defeated Rice 16-14 to open the season. Rice had a bowl appearance the year prior.
His record as head coach was 27-34, during a time in which hurricanes created major disruptions in three seasons, including damage to facilities, cancellation of games and disjointed practice schedules.
Thomas came to Nicholls State as an assistant coach in 1999 from Southeast Missouri State, where he was defensive line coach from 1993-98. During his time as part of the SEMO program, he directed a defensive line that was part of a nationally ranked defensive unit. He coached 11 All-Ohio Valley Conference selections and he had two defensive linemen selected Players of the Year in the OVC.
Prior to his stint at Southeast Missouri State, Thomas worked at Nicholls and helped build a nationally ranked defense in two of his three seasons.
From 1988-89, Thomas worked as a graduate assistant at LSU, working with the Tigers’ linebackers and defensive line. He also handled scouting of opponents and video exchange and was part of the Tigers’ coaching staff under Mike Archer as LSU won the 1988 SEC Championship.
A native of Baker, Thomas received his bachelor’s degree from Southern Mississippi in 1988 in athletic administration and coaching. He is the son of Larry Thomas, a 33-year coaching veteran of high school football, including 29 years at Baker High School.
NSU Media Relations