Jay Thomas
Jay Thomas
Title: Assistant Head Coach - Defensive Coordinator
Phone: 417-625-9568
Email: thomas-jay@mssu.edu
Previous College: Southern Mississippi (1988)

Jay Thomas comes to Missouri Southern after spending two seasonsat Northwestern (La.) State University as the Assistant Head Coachin charge of the defensive line. At Southern, Thomas will have thetitle of Assistant Head Coach and will be the defensivecoordinator. He will coach the defensive line. 

This past year, Thomas coached two All-Southland Conferencedefensive linemen, and in his first year at NSU, his entirestarting four were named All-Conference. 

Thomas, who guided Nicholls State to the 2005 SouthlandConference championship, joined Northwestern State in February2010.  He was head coach at Nicholls for five seasons from2005-2009, after serving as defensive line coach/defensivecoordinator the previous six seasons. As head coach or as adefensive line coach, Thomas worked with 12 different players whoearned all-conference accolades along the defensive line. 

Thomas had immediate impact as head coach at Nicholls in2005 following six seasons as the Colonels’ defensivecoordinator. After overcoming preseason adversity includingdisruptions related to Hurricane Katrina, he was named SouthlandConference Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Eddie RobinsonNational Coach of the Year Award after leading Nicholls to a 6-4overall record that included being SLC co-champions. The Colonelsreached the FCS playoffs for only the third time in school historyand fell 14-12 at eventual semifinalist Furman.  In 2007,Thomas pulled off the biggest upset in school history when hisColonels defeated Rice 16-14 to open the season. Rice had a bowlappearance the year prior. 

His record as head coach was 27-34, during a time in whichhurricanes created major disruptions in three seasons, includingdamage to facilities, cancellation of games and disjointed practiceschedules with the team scattered around south Louisiana for daysat a time.

Thomas came to Nicholls State as an assistant coach in1999 from Southeast Missouri State, where he was defensive linecoach from 1993-98. During his time as part of the SEMO program, hedirected a defensive line that was part of a nationally rankeddefensive unit. He coached 11 All-Ohio Valley Conference selectionsand he had two defensive linemen selected Players of the Year inthe OVC. 

Prior to his stint at Southeast Missouri State, Thomasworked at Nicholls and helped build a nationally ranked defense intwo of his three seasons. 

From 1988-89, Thomas worked as a graduate assistant atLSU, working with the Tigers’ linebackers and defensive line.He also handled scouting of opponents and video exchange and waspart of the Tigers’ coaching staff, working with the renownedPete Jenkins, under Mike Archer as LSU won the 1988 SECChampionship.

A native of Baker, Thomas received his bachelor’s degreefrom Southern Mississippi in 1988 in athletic administration andcoaching. He is the son of Larry Thomas, a 33-year coaching veteranof high school football, including 29 years at Baker HighSchool.  He is married to the former Jan Fairbanks, who was anursing professor at Nicholls, and is the proud father of twodaughters, Hannah and Haley.