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Media Business | Coach Carl Thomas - How the Media Deals with New College Programs

Media Business
July 3, 2023 4:00 PM

download - 2023-07-03T172542.655

Tony Conley is a newer content contributor and show-host for Michigan Business Network. To kick off his fifty-fourth episode, Tony has a three-segment conversation with the new head basketball coach for a new college sports program in Michigan.

He welcomes Coach Carl Thomas, a Lansing, Michigan native, with ties all over the state, set to be the Men's Basketball Head Coach at Cleary University.

Listen to Coach Carl and Tony's conversation by clicking on the PodCast playlist below!


Thomas is excited to come home. “Not only was the opportunity to be a head coach extremely attractive to me, but to be able to come back home, and be closer to my family, all while pursuing this goal and building this program. I could not pass this up once I was given the chance to take it.”

Last August Cleary University Senior Vice President of Campus Operations and Athletic Director Heather Bateman announced that Carl Thomas will be the first head coach of the recently announced Cougar men’s basketball program.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Coach Carl Thomas into the Cleary University family as our first head men’s basketball coach.  Carl brings a plethora of coaching experience, including at the (NCAA) Division 1 level. Thomas’ enthusiasm, experience, and recruiting ties make him a perfect fit for our University and Athletic department.”

Thomas has spent the past six seasons on NCAA Division 1 Duquesne University’s coaching staff with Coach Keith Dambrot as the assistant to the head coach.  Prior to his time at Duquesne, Thomas was the head coach for NJCAA Jackson College (4 seasons), and was an assistant at NJCAA Owens Community College (2 seasons).   Thomas has also spent time as an assistant at his alma mater, NCAA Division 1 Eastern Michigan University from 2005-2011 (6 seasons), and at NCAA Division 1 Maryland Eastern Shore (1 season).

“I’d like to thank Dr. (Alan) Drimmer and Heather (Bateman) for this opportunity,” said Thomas.  “To be trusted as the first head coach in the program’s history is a tremendous honor.  I look forward to building this program, competing at the highest level in the WHAC, in the nation, and ensuring we do everything in our power to represent the Howell and Livingston County communities.”

As a player, Thomas was a prep standout at Lansing Everett High School and was named the Capitol Conference Player of the Year during his senior year while helping the Vikings to a state semifinal appearance in 1987.  After high school, Thomas, and his twin brother Charles, both attended Eastern Michigan University, where they played for head coach Ben Braun and current Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot and helped the Eagles (then Hurons) to the Mid-American Conference Championships in 1988 and 1991.  The 1991 team advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.  Thomas finished his time at EMU with 1,179 points, 452, rebounds, 185 made three-pointers, and 249 assists.  He was named to the EMU Hall of Fame in 2021.

After leaving Ypsilanti, Thomas played in both the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1991-1999.  He played for Fort Wayne and Grand Rapids of the CBA, being called up to the NBA five separate times over his career.  He would play a total of 63 games in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings (1991-92), Cleveland Cavaliers (1996-98), Golden State Warriors (1997-98), and Orlando Magic (1997-98).  Thomas would also play professionally overseas in France, Sweden, Greece, and Italy from 2000-2003.  Carl and Charles Thomas are one of nine sets of twins who have both played in the NBA.

Cleary announced the addition of men’s and women’s basketball to the athletic department on July 25, and both men's and women's programs will begin competition during the 2023-24 season.

For their conversation, Tony looked to find out several things:

- Tell us about your upbringing in Lansing and your Everett High School experiences?
- Who has been the most influential person in your life?
- Talk about your college experience as a player at Eastern Michigan?
- What were your professional aspirations in high school, and college after basketball?
- Talk about when, where, and why you made the decision to coach?
- Tell us about your coaching jobs and what you learned at each stop?
- Funniest stories you can share about coaches or players, and you don't have to name names if that helps?
- What impressed you most about your experience in the NBA and basketball overseas? Can you share any funny stories?
- How did you know Cleary University was a job you should take?
- What's the worst thing that has happened in your life?
- What's the best thing that has happened in your life?
- What is the biggest challenge college basketball players face?
- As the product of a single-family fatherless home, my football coach looked out for me and my teammates, made sure we were getting our grades, and surely made sure we behaved like gentlemen. In college, my coach looked after me and help me get a part-time job on campus. What's your take on that?  

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Thank you to Benjamin Robinson and Motor City Skyline's music

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Media Business, hosted by Tony Conley. As a media veteran with more than 25 years of working experience working in television, radio, print, and social media platforms, Tony and his guests will explore the business of the media. Does the media care about journalistic integrity, proper reporting, making profits, telling all sides of every story? Is the media now an opinion based entity focused on its own agenda and do they favor sides? How does the media influence business and how does business influence the media? What are the solutions to the frenzy of Media Madness? Media Business will present all sides of these stories and let you decide.