Sophomore Kendall Johnson and junior Elijah Mitchell held down the cornerback positions for Thomas and the Wolf Pack in 2015. The duo, along with sophomore Ahki Muhammad, helped lead Nevada to consecutive bowl appearances and a win in the 2015 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Thomas will continue to guide those players in 2016 as they look to build last season’s successes. Thomas’ son – Ricky Thomas Jr. – will be a redshirt freshman defensive end on the team for the upcoming season.
In Thomas’ second season at Nevada, the Wolf Pack posted a 7-6 record and advanced to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl behind strong play from its cornerbacks. Senior Charles Garrett started in all 13 games while senior Evan Favors started in 11. Garrett earned All-Mountain West honors and posted 62 tackles, 11 passes defended, one interception and one fumble recovery. Meanwhile, Favors tallied 59 tackles and two pass break ups.
In his first season with Nevada, Garrett and Favors combined for 18 of the position’s 24 starts on the season to lead the Pack. Garrett earned honorable mention All-Mountain West honors with 57 tackles, five pass breakups and an interception. Favors chipped in with 43 tackles, four breakups and a pick.
Prior to being hired by third-year head coach Brian Polian before the 2014 season, Thomas coached the defensive front for Bill Curry at Georgia State in 2012. Prior to that, he spent 10 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, including eight as the tight ends coach. He previously spent five seasons with Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay, coaching the Buccaneers' tight ends for three seasons and working with the running backs and specials for two years. He's coached in two Super Bowls, winning a ring with the Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
Thomas's coaching career began in 1988 at Marion Military Institute, where he coached defensive backs. From 1989-92, he worked at Alabama, his alma mater, as an academic advisor for football and men's basketball. Thomas taught and coached at McCallie High School in Tennessee from 1992-96.
He served as a strength and conditioning assistant at Kentucky in 1996, and then he was hired to coach defensive backs at Gardner Webb in 1997 before moving to the NFL later that year.
Thomas was a four-year starter (1983-86) at strong safety at Alabama, where he earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. In 1995, he added a master's degree in exercise science from Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Thomas and his wife, Kimberly, have two children.
The File on Ricky Thomas
Hometown: Niceville, Fla.
Family: Wife - Kimberly; Daughter - Kaitlyn; Son - Ricky Jr.
Education: Bachelor's, Health and Physical Education, Alabama, 1987. Master's, Exercise Science, Tennessee-Chattanooga, 1995.
2013-Current: Cornerbacks, Nevada
2012: Defensive Ends, Georgia State
2002-2011: Tight Ends, Indianapolis Colts
1997-2001: Tight Ends, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1997: Defensive Backs, Gardner-Webb
1996: Strength and Conditioning coach, Kentucky
1992-96: McCallie High School
1989-92: Academic Advisor, Alabama
1988: Defensive Backs, Marion Military Institute
Alabama: Four-year starter at strong safety (1983-86).