Ed Cooley is now being forced to hire a replacement assistant coach for the second straight offseason. Last Spring, Bob Simon left for Alabama. This Spring, Andre LaFleur left for UNLV. Cooley also had to make another coaching hire last offseason that may have flown under the radar, but now seems more significant. Mike Jackson left his position on Cooley’s staff as the Coordinator of Basketball Operations, which was filled by Kevin Kurbec. Kurbec moved up from his position of Associate Director of Player Development/Video Ops. That musical chairs led to Cooley hiring Kecoughtan High School head coach Ivan Thomas to Kurbec’s former position. Fast-forward to the present and Cooley has decided to promote Thomas to the vacant assistant coach position vacated by LaFleur’s departure on April 21st. That’s quite a whirlwind move for a former Virginia high school and AAU coach. Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal first reported the news of Thomas’ promotion.
Thomas came to Providence last September after coaching at Kecoughtan High School for 7 years. He also coached at T.C. Williams High School and Edison High School. His most important credential for being an assistant coach at the high major level may be that he coached in the famed Boo Williams grassroots program from 2002-2015. 2017 Providence commit Dajour Dickens runs with Boo Williams, as did former Friar Josh Fortune. Thomas also coached Rodney Bullock at Kecoughtan. In addition to his recruiting connections, he has a connection to the Searight family — the family that Cooley lived with for a few years growing up in South Providence.
Thomas’ promotion means that 2/3 of Providence’s assistant have most of their recruiting connections in the Virginia and North Carolina areas. Brian Blaney has connections to the New England prep programs, but I would expect Providence to continue to target players from those southern hotbeds like they have in their last two high school commitments from Maliek White in 2016 and Dickens in 2017. Thomas was on the road this past weekend for the second live evaluation period of April. The Friars offered two more players from Dickens’ Boo Williams team over the weekend in 2017 Matt Coleman and 2018 Keldon Johnson.
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