The Official Site of the FIU Panthers
Isiah Thomas
Position: Head Coach
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
Alma Mater: Indiana
Graduating Year: 1987
Experience: 2 Years
Isiah Thomas Bio
Release: 07/27/2009

With a reputation of finding and developing young talent on the basketball court, Isiah Lord Thomas III ("Zeke") was named as the sixth head coach in FIU men's basketball history when he was introduced to a throng of local and national media during a gathering on April 15, 2009.

Through his first two seasons as head coach of the Panthers, Thomas has built a foundation for success.

During the 2010-2011 campaign, FIU was listed in the top 14 percent among 336 teams for "Most Improved Teams in 2011" by the NCAA, winning four more games and losing six less than the previous season. During his second season at the helm, Thomas' squad was one of the most-potent offenses in the Sun Belt Conference, averaging 71.7 points-per-game. The team also rated as one of the nation's best in steals, ranking No. 28 nationally in steals-per-game (8.3 spg). The Panthers capped off the season, advancing to the Sun Belt Tournament semifinals.  

However, the biggest success of the 2010-2011 season for Thomas came in the classroom, as all six seniors received degrees from FIU.

The 2009-10 season saw FIU gain national recognition, while producing one of the top recruiting classes (rated as high as No. 17 in some national polls).

Thomas collected his first-career victory defeating Florida Memorial, 88-82, on Nov. 17, 2009, and he earned his first-career conference victory with an 80-70 (OT) win at North Texas on Dec. 20, 2009. FIU finished the 2009-10 season ranked as the top team in the conference and No. 46 in the nation in steals per game (7.9 spg). The campaign also saw Marlon Bright win the Sun Belt Conference Male Sporting Behavior Award.

Born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, Ill., Thomas' professional career spans over three generations within business and sports related industries.  Isiah has garnered worldwide attention for his contributions in all levels of professional basketball, as well as distinctive commercial initiatives and philanthropic endeavors. 

A snapshot of Isiah's achievements and core competencies include:

Basketball Achievements
bulletNamed one of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History;
bulletBasketball Hall of Fame (elected in first year eligibility, 2000);
bullet12x NBA All-Star (1982-93);
bullet2x NBA All-Star Game MVP (1984, 1986);
bullet2x NBA Champion - Detroit Pistons (1989, 1990);
bulletNBA Finals MVP (1990);
bulletDetroit Pistons #11 jersey retired;
bulletNCAA Basketball Tournament National Championship; Tournament Most Outstanding Player - Indiana Hoosiers (1981);
bulletU.S. Olympian (1980)
bulletNew York Knicks
      - President of Basketball Operations (2003-2008)
      - Head Coach (2006-2008)
bulletIndiana Pacers
      - Head Coach (2000-2003)

Commercial Initiatives; Entrepreneurship
bulletOwner and Managing Member of Continental Basketball Association ("CBA") (1998-2001);
bullet"NBA on NBC" Television Commentator (1998-2000);
bulletMinority Owner and Executive President of NBA's expansion team, Toronto Raptors (1994-1998)
bulletCo-Chairman of American Speedy Printing; Full Service National Printing
bulletDale & Thomas, Popcorn, Indiana, Internationally manufactured/distributed gourmet popcorn
bulletSweetgreen, Organic Salad and Frozen Yogurt Restaurants (
bulletPasha's, Healthy Mediterranean Food Restaurants
bulletBoard of Governors Chicago Stock Exchange (1999-2002): First African American elected to the board

bulletBooks authored by Isiah Thomas:
      - "The Fundamentals: 8 Plays for Winning the Games of Business and Life"
      - "Bad Boys"
bulletMade-for-Television Movie: A Mother's Courage: The Mary Thomas Story
bulletJ. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award
bulletNaismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
bulletFirst NBA Player on Cover of Forbes Magazine

Philanthropic Endeavors
bulletMary's Court Foundation

- Commemorates the life and legacy of Isiah's mother, Mary Thomas, as a transformational agent of service to economically disadvantaged parents and children in the communities of Garfield Park and Lawndale on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois.
- Mary's Court works in close proximity to Chicago Public Schools Area 7 and supports the Chicago Public Schools (Beidler, Calhoun Cather, Dett, Erickson, Frazier, and Kellman) for the purposes of youth academic success, increased school attendance and higher graduation rates, character and social development, nutritional and physical health, safety, and parental involvement.

bulletIsiah Thomas Scholarship @ Indiana University; awarded over 100 scholarships in area of criminal justice concentration
bulletVarious charity endeavors throughout NBA career focused on educational, anti-crime and anti-poverty programs

bulletMasters Program in Education, University of California at Berkley (2011-Present)
bulletBachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN  (1987)

bulletThomas and his wife of over twenty years, Lynn, have two children Joshua and Lauren