BRANDON, MB– Much of Novell Thomas’ life has revolved around the game of basketball. Thomas is looking to continue that trend as he begins the next chapter in his life as a university basketball coach after taking over the reins of Brandon University’s women’s basketball program.

Thomas’ list of accomplishments as a player is lengthy, and now he is looking to have similar success as a coach, but his first goal is to encourage the student-athletes playing for him.

“The development and graduation of my student-athletes is a primary focus,” says Thomas. “It’s my responsibility to give the student-athletes the tools needed to be successful academically, on the basketball court and in the community.”


Thomas, a 36 year-old father of two, brings a wealth of experience to Brandon University in all areas of the game. He is an industry professional, a high-level coach, and has played basketball against some of the best players in the world. Thomas’ career path is what he believes what got him to where he is today.

Thomas was a member of the Simon Fraser University Clan men’s basketball team for three years after transferring from Langara College in 1994. As a member of the Clan he set school records that still stand today, including all-time career assists (503) and single-season assists (207).

After earning an anthropology degree from Simon Fraser University in 1998, Thomas entered the workforce full time, becoming an associate producer for Electronic Arts Canada Inc. (EA Sports) where he worked until 2002.

At that point Thomas felt he had more days of playing basketball in him, so he returned to the game as a professional player, joining the Canadian men’s national team. Life as a pro was good to Thomas, representing his country while playing against the likes of Jason Kidd and Allen Iverson. More importantly, Thomas learned life skills he hopes to share with his players.

“Over the years I’ve gained a lot of experience, and I feel that I have a lot to pass on to my players, like how to train, how to mentally prepare, and how to compete,” says Thomas.

After three years as a pro player, Thomas returned to EA Sports where he has worked since. Since his days as a student-athlete at SFU, Thomas has been coaching at various levels, including stints as head coach of high school teams, working as an assistant coach at the university level, and spending a year as head coach at Langara College.

“I’ve always stayed involved in coaching. It’s the teaching aspect of it I love. I knew that I always wanted to keep that door open,” Thomas reflects. “Basketball has been fantastic for me. I’ve met new people, traveled the word, and had some great experiences. Because of all of the great experiences I’ve had I’ve always wanted to give back to the game that gave me so much.”

Now that Thomas is in Brandon he plans to continue working on developing the Lady ‘Cats team as they prepare for the 2012-2013 Canada West season.

“My plan is to get in the gym with the players right away, always with the goal of working towards September in mind. I will be focusing on coaching the players, bringing in our first crop of recruits and putting together a roster for the upcoming season,” says Thomas.

“I want to instill a culture where we’re competing all the time and pushing one another. If everyone knows what is expected, trains hard and pushes each other, we will be successful.”


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