Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas

Vice President/Chief Operating Officer


  • Executive Search
  • National and Regional Issues and Trends
  • NCAA and Conference Developments
  • Program Assessment
  • Professional Development
  • Revenue Generation

“I was hired by Mike Thomas as the Head Football Coach at the University of Cincinnati.  In 3 years working together we were able to propel a football program which had been regularly overshadowed by its basketball team to a 34-6 record.

What I believe was unique about Mike Thomas as an Athletic Director is that he looked for solutions to complex issues.  He was approachable, easy to talk to and supportive to all challenges a coach faces on a daily basis. Simply, Mike is one of the finest Athletic Directors I have had the pleasure to work for in my 25 year head coaching career.”

Brian Kelly
Head Football Coach, University of Notre Dame

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As Chief Operating Officer,  Mike’s breadth of experience in intercollegiate athletics provides CarrSports’ and its clients with a unique access to industry leadership, resources and services.


Mike Thomas has 34 years experience in major university athletic department direction, during which time he hired coaches who have led teams to conference championships and national prominence, achieved historic levels of fundraising, managed capital projects totaling over $400 million, raised student-athlete academic achievements to conference-leading levels, instituted cultures of strict NCAA compliance, negotiated multi-million dollar media, sponsorship and marketing contracts, and revamped staffing and financial systems.

His roles included director of athletics at the University of Illinois, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Akron, and Cleveland State University, as well as serving on executive staff at the University of Virginia and the University of Denver. Over the course of Thomas’ career, he has worked in the Big Ten Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Mid-American Conference and the Horizon League.

Recognized for his administrative acumen by his peers, Thomas has served on the following NCAA committees: Division I Council, Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee, Division I Ethics Coalition, Division I Championship/Sport Management Cabinet, Men’s Basketball Issues Committee, Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet, Division I Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet, Postseason Football Bowl Licensing Subcommittee, Women’s Basketball Issues Committee and the Women’s Rowing Committee.

Thomas also served on several conference committees, most notably as Chair of both the Horizon League Council and the Basketball Issues Committee; Chair of the Big East Championship and Competition Committee; and, the Big Ten Legislative Review Committee.

Twice during his career, Thomas received the General Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Director of Athletics Award in 2005 (Akron) and 2009 (Cincinnati).  He also received the Cincinnati Sports Executive of the Year (2009), the Big East Distinguished Service Award (2011) and the Western Illinois University Alumni Achievement Award (2015).

Thomas, a Colorado native,received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Colorado State University (1983), and his master’s degree in athletic administration from Western Illinois University (1986).  He lives in the Charlotte, North Carolina area with his wife, Jeni.  They have four adult children – Vince, Joey, Mick and Meredith.

ADMINISTRATIVE CAREER

2017-2019
Cleveland State University
(Director of Athletics)

2015-2017
CarrSports Consulting
(Consultant)

2011-2015
University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign
(Director of Athletics)

2005-2011
University of Cincinnati
(Director of Athletics)

2000-2005
University of Akron
(Director of Athletics)

1993-2000
University of Virginia
(Associate Director of Athletics)

1986-1993
University of Denver
(Assistant Director of Athletics)

1985-1986
University of Iowa
(Athletic Administrative Intern)

CONTACT INFORMATION

217-402-3082
mike@carrsportsconsulting.com

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