Ball State Head Coach Bob Thomas to Retire After 39 Years

The winningest coach in Ball State men’s swimming & diving history, Bob Thomas, completed his 39th season at the helm of Ball State men’s swimming this year and has announced his retirement.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with the hundreds of swimmers and divers over the last 39 years,” Thomas said. “Now that I’m retiring, I am looking forward to my next adventure.”

Thomas is a four-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, and has accumulated a 215-175-2 (.548) career record. He also guided the team to two runner-up finishes at the MAC Championships (1992-93 & 2002-03), as well as eighter top-three finishes.

In his time at Ball State, Thomas coached his athletes to 40 individual MAC championship and seven relay titles. His athletes have also earned First Team All-MAC honors eight times, and Second Team All-MAC recognition 17 times.

In addition, under Thomas’ guidance, athletes have earned four All-American honors, eight MAC Diver of Year awards, four MAC Outstanding Senior awards and a MAC Swimmer of the Year title.

“Coach Thomas has had a wonderful career and positively influenced the lives of many young men,” Ball State Athletics Director Mark Sandy said. “His contributions to the Ball State Athletic Department and the University are many, and we wish him well as he moves to the next phase of his life.”

A source tells SwimSwam that the school has begun a national search for Thomas’ replacement to begin as the head coach of the Cardinals next season.

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Nick Gayes

Bob is both a fantastic coach and person. He will be missed on campus as a coach, teacher, mentor, and friend. He has had a huge impact at Ball State and in the swimming and diving world, and he has countless former athletes who have gone on to carry the torch as successful coaches at all levels. Quite the legacy.


Best wishes to Coach Thomas! I volunteer assisted in the late 90’s for the women’s program and was impressed with Bob’s leadership, demeanor, and resourcefulness. In a time where MAC men’s programs are few, Ball State has managed to keep theirs. I hope this continues as Bob has built a great foundation in times that have been tough on swimming.


Happy to see Ball State still supporting men’s swimming. I know they don’t offer scholarships but at least they support the guys and swimming.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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