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Kenny Thomas To Retire After 2021 Season

(WRDW)
Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 3:53 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2020 at 3:53 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. - University of South Carolina Aiken head baseball coach Kenny Thomas has announced that the 2021 season will be his last at the helm of the program.

Thomas, who will coach his 22nd season at USC Aiken in 2021, has guided the program to 738 wins during his career. The winningest coach in USC Aiken baseball history, Thomas currently has an overall record of 1,258-626 in 33 seasons as a college head coach.

During his tenure, Thomas has coached the team to nine NCAA Southeast Region appearances, which occurred in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017. Thomas guided the Pacers to the 2009 and 2013 PBC regular-season titles. The two-time PBC Coach of the Year led the program to the PBC Tournament Championship game in 2007, 2018 and 2019.

Thomas' squad registered 40 or more wins seven times. His highest win total came in 2008, when his team went 47-17.

In 2013 and 2017, Thomas guided the squad to a national No. 1 ranking during the regular season.

"Coach Thomas has become synonymous with Pacer baseball and his accomplishments on the field speak for themselves," Director of Athletics Jim Herlihy said.

"He has made a positive impact on hundreds of student-athletes who have represented the University. One small example is the impact and effect he has made on former players who have made a name for themselves as college, high school and youth coaches. He has passed on his love of the game to future generations. He will be missed on our campus and in our dugout."

Throughout his tenure, Thomas has coached 68 players who have gone on to be drafted in professional baseball drafts. He has coached 106 all-conference players, three PBC Players of the Year, one PBC Pitcher of the Year, three PBC Freshman of the Year in addition to 18 All-Americans, one Southeast Region Player of the Year and one National Player of the Year.

"This announcement comes with sadness and joy," Thomas said. "USC Aiken has been such a big part of my life and Judy's (my wife) life, for the past 22 years. It's sad to think it's going to come to an end. However, there is joy in the fact that I will get to spend much more time with her and our family.

"Both USC Aiken and the community of Aiken, have embraced Judy and I for so many years now," Thomas continued. "I often tell people that the roof could blow off our house tonight and I could make five phone calls and within an hour, there would be 100 people in my front yard. The relationships will last forever, and that's what makes this place so special.

“I want to thank all my former players and coaches for all they’ve done for me through these years. I am thankful to former athletic director Randy Warrick and current athletic director Jim Herlihy for their support and Dr. Jordan, who has been so helpful and supportive through this decision. This decision does not come without many hours and days of thoughtful consideration. I love Pacer Baseball, I love Aiken S.C. and I love USC Aiken. Let’s have one more great year!”

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