PERU – Peru State athletic director Kirk Kelley recently announced the hiring of J.L. Thomason to serve as the Bobcats’ head softball coach. Thomason had been serving as the interim head coach after taking the place of long-time Peru State head coach Mark Mathews who passed away unexpectedly on Christmas Eve.
In making his announcement, Kelley noted, “J.L. did an outstanding job in the interim role this past spring. He displayed a ton of ownership in the program and had lots of support from the players. J.L. has hit the ground running and we look forward to many good things to come from him.”
Thomason is a former student-athlete at Peru State and came to the College from Holt, Fla. In the winter of 2012, Thomason completed his bachelor of science in business administration-management and later went on to earn his master of science in organizational management-entrepreneurial and economic development in winter of 2014.
As an athlete at Peru State, Thomason participated in baseball for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. While he was a member of the team, Thomason ranked first in the NAIA for fielding percentage (2012), maintained a career batting average of 0.381 (2011-2012), and held a career fielding percentage of 0.852 (2011-2012).
Following the 2012 season, Thomason was named as a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a conference scholar-athlete.
Thomason was a member of the first Peru State baseball team that made it to a NAIA National Tournament. In 2012, the Bobcats played in the Paducah, Ky., regional where the team went 2-2, with an upset over in-state rival Bellevue University.
Prior to stepping into the interim head softball coaching position, Thomason served as a coaching assistant to the Peru State baseball team for five and one-half years.
Over the course of these five years, Thomason assisted the Peru State baseball team in becoming the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) Western Division Champions in 2013 and achieving the Buffalo Funds Five Star Champions of Character Team Award (2013-2014). In the 2015 season, Thomason was key in assisting the Bobcats to winning both the Heart regular season and tournament championships, which propelled the team to their second national tournament experience. Peru State finished 1-2 in the Grand Rapids, Mich., regional.
J.L. is also no stranger to the strategies behind baseball and softball as he is an expert in creating accurate scouting reports and spray charts to ensure a victory for Peru teams. He also adds that he has been a hitting coach, infield and outfield instructor, third base coach, and strength and conditioning instructor.
In addition to being a coaching assistant at Peru State, Thomason contributed to other athletic programs by managing home games for football, volleyball, and basketball.
Thomason is pleased to have the opportunity to lead the Bobcat softball program, but is aware of the challenges. He stated, “Having been affiliated with Peru State College and the baseball program for the last eight years, I am excited to continue my tenure here at PSC in a different capacity with the softball program. I look forward to working with the softball student-athletes we have returning and continuing to build the program by adding quality recruits to the program. The effort and the excitement the young women exhibited this spring is indicative of their desire to have a winning program and we will work hard to make that happen.”