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Bear Thomas is the active head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the NFCAA, The Cornhuskers are a part of the Big Ten Conference. Bear Thomas is the avatar for reddit user /u/scenicevergreen and is also the Fake Baseball GM for the Fake Chicago Cubs in the MLR, as well as the head coach of the Fake Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball team in Fake College Baseball. Bear Thomas is also the commissioner of Fake College Baseball.
- 1 Records
- 2 Personal History
- 3 Professional History
- 3.1 Division I Seasons in reverse chronological order
- 3.2 Head Coaching Jobs
- 3.3 Rivalry Games
Overall Record: 9-6
Bowl/Playoff Record: 0-0
Record vs Top 25: 2-0
Record vs Top 10: 0-0
Bear Thomas was born in Omaha, NE the oldest son of Judith and Jimmy Thomas, both exotic animal experts who worked at the world-famous Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. Jimmy was an avid Chicago Cubs fan and passed along his love of baseball to his son, while Judith was a die-hard Nebraska Cornhuskers football fanatic and influenced Bear to fall in love with Husker football. Bear's parents spent every Spring helping their son grow as a baseball player, every Summer splitting his time in both baseball (in games) and football (in training), Fall enjoying postseason baseball and the beginning of football season, and every Winter focused on football. By high school, Thomas was being scouted by both college and professional baseball scouts and college football scouts. Clearly superior as a baseball player, but wanting to indulge his love of football, Bear Thomas decided early in high school to go to college wherever he could be a two-sport athlete.
As a high school 2nd baseman in baseball and quarterback in Football, He led his teams in state championships in both sports his sophomore year. The summer before his junior year, Thomas was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG), a rare neurological disorder, and was unable to take part in any athletic activities. The MG caused Thomas to lose the ability to grip, raise his eyebrows, and eventually lost the ability to smile and control his nasal passage, making communication difficult. Thomas and his family thought this would be the end of his athletic career. His high school football team ended up losing in the state quarterfinals under backup freshman quarterback Patrick Toliver.
Miraculously, Thomas went into remission after only 6 months and was back to training for baseball in the Spring. Unable to play much his junior year due to slow growth after 6 months of atrophy, he spent most of his time either as DH or helping as a player-manager from the bench. Even though he didn't get to play much, his team went on to win their 2nd straight state championship, and Thomas was credited with the victory by his teammates for his progressive strategy and coaching his teammates. In the state championship game the Spring of that year, Thomas led off as DH but only went 1-2 with 1 walk and a single. The single, however came in the bottom of the 5th tied 2-2 and Thomas was pulled for a pinch runner (he still hadn't regained full speed after his stint with MG) who was able to steal second and get batted in for the go ahead run. Later on it was noted that Thomas pulled himself out for the pinch runner, solidifying his place as a progressive thinker and great team leader and player.
The Summer before Thomas's senior year, he was able to complete his rehabilitation and was able to lead his legion team to an unprecedented undefeated season. They ended up placing 4th nationally. That Fall, Thomas rejoined his high school football team as the starting quarterback and led his team back to the state championship, where they won a shootout 52-49 behind the arm of their all-state quarterback going 12-of-14 and throwing for 214 yards and 3 touchdown passes and another 2-yard QB sneak to win the game. In January, Thomas committed to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR to play both baseball and football. He then led his high school team to win their 3rd consecutive state baseball championship behind an incredible 30-3 season. Unlike the previous year, Thomas started every game at 2nd base and would bat .465 with an OBP of .668 and OPS of 1.279. He would be honored as the Gatorade player of the year for both Baseball and Football in the state of Nebraska.
Bear Thomas committed to division-II Ouachita Baptist University in 2010 and was redshirted his freshman year for football. However, for baseball, Thomas started at 2nd base as a true freshman and ended up leading off for the final stretch of games. Thomas would end the season batting .289, leading the team. Unfortunately, the Tigers didn't find much team success, ending the season 21-26.
His redshirt freshman season Thomas landed 2nd on the depth chart after losing the position battle against senior quarterback Jameson Cobb. After starting 3-2 and Jameson Cobb going down for 3 weeks with an injury to his throwing elbow, Thomas was able to get the starts in weeks 6-8 of the season, leading the Tigers to victory in all three games against Southwestern Oklahoma State (48-38), Southern Arkansas (53-43), and Harding (31-27). Thomas committed two turnovers in the 4th quarter of the Harding game that nearly lost them the game, reaffirming Jameson Cobb as the starting quarterback when he returned from injury the following week. Bear would remain 2nd on the depth chart the rest of the season, but would get a chance to play in the 2nd quarter of the end-of-season rivalry game against Henderson State, leading the team to take their first lead of the game while Cobb sat out the 2nd quarter with cramps. The Tigers up 17-14 at one point, Henderson State would come back and take a 41-17 lead in the 4th quarter before Cobb would lead the Tigers to 19 unanswered points and miss the comeback by 1 yard as time expired to lose the Battle of the Ravine 36-41 to end the Tigers, and Thomas', football season. That baseball season Thomas would continue with the team as starting 2nd base and lead off all season. Continuing his growth, Thomas would end up batting .297 and leading the team to a 30-26 record and finish 2nd in the conference tournament.
The 2012-2013 school year was difficult for Thomas. He took over starting quarterback duties as a redshirt sophomore, and though the Tiger football team would start 6-0, and dominating competition, they would end the season on a 4-game losing streak including a crushing end-of-season loss to Henderson State, 7-42. No official reports ever came out, but the speculation around the school was that Bear Thomas was facing burnout and may have even been rediagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. The baseball season, Thomas's junior season, was a big step backward for the team, and Thomas posted nearly identical numbers as the previous year. The baseball team would end up finishing 22-24-1.
Thomas' redshirt junior football season started similarly to the previous season, going 5-0 to start and then going 2-2 leading into the 2013 edition of the Battle of the Ravine. Both of the prior losses were lost by one possession. Thomas, in contrast to the previous season, kept his wits about him after those losses and remembered the blowout loss to Henderson State the previous year. The 87th Battle of the Ravine lived up to the week-long hype that preceded it and ended with both teams combining for 112 points, the most in their 87 meetings. Henderson state would score the game's first touchdown on a three play 91-yard drive. The Tigers would answer with a scoring drive of their own, covering 76 yards in four minutes. Thomas then would connect for a 33-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers took the lead 14-7. Henderson State would answer right back and the first quarter would end tied at 14-14. The Tigers would capitalize on a failed fake punt and take a 21-14 lead from another Thomas touchdown pass in the second quarter. The Tiger defense would maintain that lead until late in the first half, when Henderson State completed a 33-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 21-21. The half ended tied.
The third quarter saw HSU score on a touchdown run and a 31-yard field goal, and the third quarter would end with Reddies up by 10, 31-21. Balancing the run and the pass in the 4th quarter, the Tigers would drive 79 yards to move back within stricking distance down 31-28. After a punt return touchdown by Ouachita, they would take the lead 35-31. Henderson got the ball back on their 22 and began a long drive that would take up four minutes and 44 seconds and end with a pass into the back corner of the end zone to put the Reddies back on top 38-35 with 1:08 left to play. The Tigers drive would start with 1:01 left in the game on their own 26 yard line. Thomas would complete an eight yard pass to their senior running back, and HSU would commit a personal foul on the play and the Tigers would get the ball on their own 49 yard line. After completions of 16, 18 and seven yards, Thomas would run the ball out of bounds at the HSU seven yard line and stop the clock with 1.9 seconds left. The Tigers would connect on a 24-yard field goal attempt as time expired to tie the game at 38-38 and send the contest into overtime.
After the first overtime, the game was tied 45-45. In the second overtime OBU would get the ball first. Thomas would ultimate take it in himself from one yard out and the Tigers would lead 52-45 after the successful extra point attempt. The Tigers would hold the Reddies to five yards on three plays and force a fourth down and five, but Henderson State would find an open receiver for a 17-yard completion and a first down. The Tiger defense would answer the challenge and on force a fourth and goal situation for the Reddies. Unfortunately, HSU was able to score on an acrobatic touchdown pass and force a third overtime, tied up 52-52. HSU started the third overtime with possession and would score on four plays with an eight-yard run. HSU would convert the two-point conversion and they would lead 60-52. On their next possession, the Tigers would find themselves on the HSU 13 yard line after a personal foul call against HSU on a late hit. However, two plays later they would be back at the HSU 26 after an offensive pass interference call in the end zone. After three incompletions, Thomas' last pass would be tipped by an OBU receiver and caught in the end zone by Henderson State for Thomas' only interception of the game to end it. Bear thomas finished the game 28-45-1 for 282 yards and three touchdowns, plus his one rushing touchdown in the second overtime.
Thomas' senior baseball season would follow that same passion and fire as the football season. He would lead the team to victories over ranked opponents early in the season, and would get a little bit of a clap back to Henderson State by sweeping them in the final series of the season. Though Ouachita would end up going only 25-28, they made it to the second round of the the conference tournament before being beaten first by Southern Arkansas University (10-15) and then eliminated by the University of Arkansas-Monticello (6-12). Thomas would have an unreal statline .399/.512/.565 and ultimately be drafted into the Fake Houston Astros system of Major League Redditball (MLR) Fake Baseball. His career baseball stats with Ouachita Baptist was 201 games, 196 starts, in 622 AB's had a slash line .323/.442/.501 with 52 career home runs.
With Thomas' tenacity, he was able to work out a deal with the Fake Astros and finish his redshirt senior football season post-graduation. His senior season was especially spectacular. Thomas would lead his team to dominant and convincing victories throughout the season, with the only troubles coming against rival #13 Harding- a 31-28 victory- and the following week against Arkansas Tech in a low-scoring 14-9 victory. Going into the Battle of the Ravine #9 Ouachita was 9-0 while #14 Henderson State sat at 9-1. Early in the game, the Reddies took on a 17-7 lead over the Tigers, but Thomas was able to put on a clinic and lead the Tigers to a convincing 41-20 victory over the Reddies, finally giving Thomas his first and only victory over the Reddies in his 5 years at Ouachita. Thomas would end the game 15-25 with 207 yards passing and 2 touchdown throws, plus 129 yards rushing and another touchdown on the ground.
Behind Thomas' leadership, the Tigers would earn a #1 seeding in the FCS Division II playoffs and match up against the University of Minnesota-Duluth in Arkadelphia. Ouachita would force UMD to punt on their first drive, then began their first possession of the game from their own 27 yard line. A 57-yard touchdown run would kick off the scoring for the Tigers. The Bulldogs immediately responded on the ensuing kickoff, as the kickoff was returned to Ouachita's one-yard line. UMD scored two plays later on a two-yard run. After consecutive scoreless possessions by both teams, the Tigers put together a 4 play, 65-yard drive to take a 14-7 lead with 6:07 remaining in the first quarter. The Tigers then forced Minnesota-Duluth to punt on its next possession, after the Bulldogs traveled 30 yards on 10 plays. Despite an eight-play, 44-yard drive by Ouachita that took 2:29, the Tigers were stopped on fourth down on UMD's 28-yard line. UMD then received its first drive of the second quarter and marched all the way down to Ouachita's 16-yard line. Ouachita's defense was able to force a fourth down, however, and a 38-yard field goal with 9:56 left in the half sailed wide left. Ouachita's following drive resulted in another punt, and UMD tied the game at 14 with an eight play, 65-yard drive. The drive was capped off by a 29-yard touchdown run. The Bulldog's took the lead on their final drive of the first half after a 56-yard pass followed by another 2-yard touchdown run. After 14 consecutive points, UMD took a 21-14 lead into halftime.
Ouachita received the opening kickoff of the second half, and after a 26-yard pass on third-and-two, Thomas was able to throw up a touchdown pass and tied the game at 21. The Bulldogs immediately responded again, moving the ball 70 yards on six plays on their next possession. The drive featured a 40-yard pass which put the ball on Ouachita's 20-yard line, followed 2 plays later by a 15-yard touchdown pass. Down by seven with 10:52 to play in the third quarter, Thomas led the Tigers into UMD territory. But once the Tigers reached the UMD 15-yard line, Thomas' pass was intercepted by Minnesota-Duluth's Daryl Brown. Ouachita's defense proved strong on the following drive, despite eight offensive plays from the Bulldogs. On fourth-and-one, UMD punted the football 59 yards to Ouachita's 10-yard line. The punt was returned, however, for 29 yards to the 39-yard line. Then on another eight-play drive that started in the third quarter but carried to the fourth, the Tigers scored on Thomas' first rushing touchdown of the game. The extra-point was blocked by UMD, and the Bulldogs held a 28-27 lead with 14:55 to play in the game. The Bulldogs then took a 35-27 lead on the next drive, after a seven-yard touchdown. The score capped a 10-play, 67-yard drive that took almost five minutes. Ouachita responded once again, with a seven-play drive that resulted in a 31-yard touchdown pass from Thomas. A two-point conversion attempt to tie the game at 35 failed, however. After a defensive stand by the Tigers, and an 11-yard punt, Ouachita began its next drive on UMD's 13-yard line. The Tigers took three plays to score, and they reached the end zone on a 4-yard run. Another two-point conversion failed, and Ouachita took a 39-35 lead with 5:54 to play. Ouachita then forced another UMD punt, but the Tigers lost a fumble on the first play of their next possession. Ouachita's defense stopped the Bulldogs again, this time on fourth-and-six to take over on downs, but yet another fumble by the Tigers gave Minnesota-Duluth the ball on their own 26-yard line. With 2:24 remaining, the Bulldogs began a 12-play, 74-yard drive until they scored again on another touchdown pass, giving UMD a 42-39 lead with 45 seconds left in regulation. The Tigers then began their final drive of the fourth quarter, starting with an 18-yard pass to place the ball at the OBU 39-yard line. Two more passes from Thomas pushed the Tigers 36 yards down the field into UMD territory. A Tigers field goal attempt split the uprights on a 20-yard field goal with three seconds remaining. The field goal tied the game a 42, and after the next kickoff ran the clock out, the teams entered overtime.
Ouachita received the first possession of overtime, and after three plays they converted on another field goal, this time from 37 yards. Down 45-42, the Bulldogs began their first drive of overtime from the Ouachita 25-yard line. After three plays put the Bulldogs nine yards from the end zone, Minnesota-Duluth scored on a reverse pass to the quarterback on a nine-yard pass to win the game, 48-45. Despite the loss, the Tigers recorded 281 rush yards and 67 more total yards than the Bulldogs. Thomas recorded 295 passing yards and two passing touchdowns, plus 111 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
Thomas led the Tigers in his redshirt senior season to a record of 10-1, its first 10-win season since 1914. And with that, Thomas hung up his pads and assumed he would be done with football forever as he focused on his MLR career. Thomas ended his time at Ouachita as an All-American at quarterback and an All-American 2nd baseman. His career numbers in football were 38 games played, 34 starts, 26-8 as a starter, 91 touchdown passes, 45 touchdown runs, 624-for-966 with 8892 yards passing.
Thomas was finding success with the Houston Astros of the MLR by starting 2nd base and batting leadoff, but Thomas found himself missing the game of football. While taking on additional assistant GM responsibilities, Thomas found a great deal of joy in college football and was invited to come be a grad assistant at his alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University. Within a few weeks of the 2016 season, Thomas was offered the QB coach position due to the quick progress that all 3 roster quarterbacks were making. After a tough position battle, Randy Rodriguez would win out the starting position and Thomas would take him under his wing. After a somewhat successful 7-4 season where the offense scored 30+ points in 8 of 11 games, primarily due to quarterback play, Thomas was promoted to co-offensive coordinator for the 2017 season.
The 2017 season brought Thomas to the opportunity to see redshirt Senior Randy Rodriguez and the rest of the Ouachita Tigers score 30+ points in 9 of 12 games. There was a bit of drama between offensive coordinators as Bear Thomas and Arthur Moynahan didn't see eye to eye on offensive strategy. With Thomas being the "newbie", Moynahan took lead between the duo from weeks 1-7, though weeks six and seven drew out some personal conflict between the two coaches, which reflected on the offense in their two worst offensive performances. Head Coach Ryan Goins, seeing the prospect of Bear Thomas as his successor, gave Moynahan administrative sick leave the rest of the regular season and placing Thomas in the sole offensive coordinator position. The Tigers would go on to put up 45+ points in the final 4 games of the regular season, including a 49-42 victory over rival Henderson State. Not surprisingly, Coach Goins would bring Moynahan back for the FCS Playoff game against Ferris State University, though he kept Thomas as the lead offensive coordinator to start the game. Ouachita would only score one touchdown in the game, early in the first half. OBU would hold a 13-0 lead until 3:37 remaining in the half when Ferris State would score their first touchdown. Up 13-7 going into halftime, in a strange and inexplicable turn of events Coach Goins decided to give Coach Moynahan the reigns to the offense in the second half. OBU would only put up 6 more points on field goals while the Bulldogs would rack up 24 total points and hand OBU their 3rd game scoring less than 30 points and their only sub-20-point game of the season. After the game, Coach Goins announced he would be taking the 2018 season to be treated from lung cancer and that Bear Thomas would become the interim head coach, citing excellence and personality as the primary reasons. He also announced Moynahan would be leaving to take the head coaching job at Arkansas State.
The offseason between 2017-2018 gave Thomas an opportunity to build upon a successful 2017, but he would lose his redshirt quarterback and need to develop new freshman talent at the position. He was given authority to hire the offensive coordinator of his choice, but he elected to hire a new quarterbacks coach who would act as assistant offensive coordinator while Thomas would continue to run the offense. With his first experience overseeing defense, Thomas also gave direction to long-time defensive coordinator Harold White, helping to bring new dynamics and strength and conditioning to the defensive side of the team. With new redshirt freshman Kai Montgomery leading the offense at the Quarterback position and redshirt senior Ozzie Byrd at runningback, the first game ended up a bumpy 29-21 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma State University though the game wasn't as close as the score indicated. The following weeks would see the team explode with dominating victories: 41-8 over Southwestern Oklahoma State University, 32-16 over Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 42-0 over East Central University, and 24-7 over Arkansas Tech University. One defensive struggle against then-#19 Harding still placed the Tigers on top 7-3, and then the Tigers would continue their undefeated run with Thomas still calling the offense. Oklahoma Baptist would bring the Tigers' best offensive performance in a 58-21 victory, Southern Nazarene University would be the second blowout shutout for the Tigers, 41-0. Two consecutive 35-10 victories over University of Arkansas at Monticello and Southern Arkansas University would overlap with a curious opportunity for "Coach Bear" to take over at Notre Dame as the head coach as well.
Thomas was offered the opportunity while leading his undefeated Tigers team to also head coach the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who were sittig at 1-9 on the season and had gone through 4 different head coaches. Thomas, knowing that Coach Ryan Goins had recovered from lung cancer and would take the team back over in 2019, accepted the opportunity with the agreement that he could still coach the Tigers and that he could be present at both schools games. Due to scheduling opportunites, Thomas was able to fly between all games and delegate pre-game prep to his coordinators. The same day that The Tigers defeated Southern Arkansas University 35-10, The Fighting Irish would also crush the University of Massachusetts Minutemen 42-14 all under the leadership of Coach Bear. A 1pm kickoff in Arkadelphia the final week of the regular season against rivals Henderson State gave Thomas ample time to lead the team to a 38-10 victory and celebrate after the game for the Battle of the Ravine before needing to be in California for the Notre Dame game against Stanford at 7pm (9pm central time).Escaping Stanford 39-37, Thomas would end the Notre Dame regular season leading the team to 2 straight wins to end the season 3-9. Ouachita would end the regular season 11-0 and go on to the FCS playoffs.
The Tigers would continue their trend of domination, defeating the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds 35-7 in the first round of the Division II football playoffs. The second round would bring the Tigers to face the Ferris State University Bulldogs for the second season in a row. Unfortunately, the game would look similar to the previous season, as #2 Ferris State dismantled the Tigers' defense in a 14-37 rout in Arkadelphia. After an historic undefeated regular season, winning their first-ever playoff game, and winning a school record 12 games, Coach Bear would go out with a bang at the Division II school.
Following the successful season, OBU head coach Ryan Goins would be reinstated as the head coach of the football team, giving many accolades and awards to interim head coach Bear Thomas. Thomas would be offered the full-time position at Notre Dame after the season at Ouachita was up, which he would accept for the moment. However, The Nebraska Cornhuskers would come calling and Bear Thomas, a Nebraska native, would accept the opportunity to lead his beloved Cornhuskers and become the next head coach starting immediately in preparation for the 2019 season. Thomas instituted a spread offense and 3-4 defense, trying to get a leg up on Big Ten competition after the successful run with those systems at Notre Dame.
During the 2018-2019 offseason, Coach Bear also moved on from the Fake Houston Astros of the MLR and became the GM of the expansion Chicago Cubs of the MLR, and also took on responsibilities as the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball team. Splitting time between Lincoln and Chicago, Thomas led the Nebraska Baseball team to a 1-1 record plus a victory over the combined Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox exhibition matchup.
Bear Thomas leads the Chicago Cubs of the MLR as a Player-GM and the Head Coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers for both Fake College Football and Fake College Baseball.
Division I Seasons in reverse chronological order
The 2nd season of Fake College Football (fCFB) started off with Bear Thomas as the newest Cornhusker Head Coach after a season of mediocrity lead by 3 different head coaches throughout 2018. The Cornhuskers ended the regular season .500, but won the Big Ten West and ultimately the Big Ten championship game against Ohio State University. They faced off against the PAC-12 champions USC Trojans in the Rose Bowl game, a 38-28 victory for the Cornhuskers.
Overall Record: 8-6 (5-3)
Bowl Record: 1-0
Record vs Top 25: 3-0
Record vs Top 10: 0-0
|1||vs||#18 Notre Dame||35-31 W||Notre Dame v Nebraska|
|2||@||Texas||21-31 L||Nebraska v Texas|
|3||@||Colorado||29-30 L||Nebraska v Colorado|
|4||vs||Hawaii||7-21 L||Hawaii v Nebraska|
|5||vs||Minnesota||34-31 W||Minnesota v Nebraska|
|6||@||Wisconsin||28-23 W||Nebraska v Wisconsin|
|7||vs||Maryland||16-17 L||Maryland v Nebraska|
|8||@||Penn State||17-27 L||Nebraska v Penn State|
|9||@||Purdue||29-15 W||Nebraska v Purdue|
|10||vs||Illinois||7-6 W||Illinois v Nebraska|
|11||@||Northwestern||28-7 W||Nebraska v Northwestern|
|12||vs||Iowa||37-44 L||Iowa v Nebraska|
|CONF||@||#17 Ohio State||31-24 W||Nebraska v Ohio State|
|BOWL||@||#14 USC||38-28 W||ROSE BOWL - Nebraska v USC|
This was the inaugural season for Fake College Football (fCFB). Thomas was a late-coming head coach, not joining in until late in the season. Notre Dame had just lost their 4th head coach and were looking for someone who would come in and finish the season strong. Thomas accepted the offer to become the head coach, where he famously said "I will turn this Notre Dame ship around." With fresh energy, "Coach Bear" as he was affectionately called, led the team to a 42-14 victory over the Minutemen from the University of Massachusetts in Hadley, MA. The final game of the regular season was against rival Stanford. A close game down to the final drive of the game, the Fighting Irish was able to hold onto victory 39-37. Coach Bear would end up leaving on a high note, taking the job with the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the offseason coaching carousel.
Overall Record: 2-0
Bowl/Playoff Record: 0-0
Record vs Top 25: 0-0
Record vs Top 10: 0-0
|11||@||Massachusetts||42-14 W||Notre Dame v UMass|
|12||@||Stanford||39-37 W||Notre Dame v Stanford|
Head Coaching Jobs
Ouachita Baptist Tigers (AR)
Bear Thomas would start out as a graduate assistant under head coach Ryan Goins for the Ouachita Tigers in 2016, and would quickly be promoted to quarterbacks coach. In the offseason, after a lot of quarterback-led offensive success throughout the 2016 season, Thomas was announced as co-offensive coordinator for the 2017 season. For the first half of the season, incumbent offensive coordinator Arthur Moynahan would take the primary duties of offensive coordinator, but after two consecutive weeks not reaching team goals, Coach Moynahan was given leave for the rest of the regular season. Thomas then led the offense a sole offensive coordinator from weeks 8-11. Coach Moynahan would come back for the playoff game but with Thomas holding primary responsibility over the offense. With a 13-7 lead at halftime, Coach Goins would give Moynahan the primary duties for the second half. Ultimately, OBU would only score 6 more points off of field goals only in a 24-19 loss, ending the Tigers season.
Thomas would be name the interim head coach for the 2018 season while Coach Goins underwent treatment for lung cancer. Coach Moynahan would leave Ouachita for the Arkansas State head coaching job. The 2018 season Coach Bear led the Tigers to an undefeated 11-0 regular season, outscoring opponents 382-106. Thomas would also take over as head coach of Notre Dame for the final two weeks of the regular season, going 4-0 over the course of 2 weeks leading both teams. With the Irish ending their season 3-9, Thomas would continue leading the Tigers into the Division II playoffs while Notre Dame would continue into the offseason. Ouachita would win their first playoff game against the University of Indianapolis 35-7, then face off against #2 Ferris State University Bulldogs. Ouachita's dominating ways came to an end in a 14-37 loss to Ferris State, the 2nd consecutive season where the Bulldogs would end the Tigers' season.
After season's end, Head Coach Ryan Goins would return after fighting lung cancer, allowing Thomas to move on to Notre Dame to coach the Irish. The job would end quickly into the offseason, as Coach Bear would end up accepting the job at Nebraska before even moving from Arkadelphia to South Bend.
After a 1-9 start with 4 different head coaches and several interim head coaches and subcoaches, Week 11 brought in rookie Head Coach Bear Thomas who vowed to "right the Notre Dame ship" after the 1-9 start by the previous coaches. Acting simultaneously as head coach of the Division II Ouachita Tigers and the Irish, on the first drive of the game against the University of Massachusetts, "Coach Bear" (as his team affectionately called him) led the team to dominate the defense and score after only a minute with the ball. The ensuing defensive drive the Irish forced an interception, allowing the Irish to again drive downfield and score off of the turnover. Coach Bear and the Fighting Irish ended up stomping UMass 42-14.
The final game of the season brought Notre Dame to rival Stanford, and this game was not short of excitement. Although Stanford outgained Notre Dame in total offense and had a better defensive performance stats-wise, the Irish was able to hold onto a 39-37 victory thanks to a defensive stop by the Irish preventing a 2-point conversion that would have tied the game. Coach Bear ended the season looking ahead to 2019 with high expectations.
But the perennial orphans of Notre Dame couldn't catch a break, and a teary-eyed Bear Thomas announced to his team and later to the press that he got the call and offer to become the Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach, a job he had dreamed of since childhood as a kid growing up in Omaha. Rumors swirled that Thomas was also upset that Notre Dame would not join the Big Ten in the 2019 season after several weeks of discussion. Bear Thomas's closing words to his team were simply "Go Irish" and he followed up with a huge team hug before leaving for Lincoln.
Towards the end of the 2018 season, Nebraska head coach Giordano_5 would leave Nebraska for the head coaching job at Hawaii, breaking the hearts of the fanbase and calling administration leadership into question that a coach would leave Nebraska for a group of 5 school. However, trust in university administration was restored when former Notre Dame head coach Bear Thomas was announced as the newest hire for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football program during the 2018-2019 coaching carousel as successor to former Head Coach Giordano_5. Thomas, a Nebraska native from Omaha, addressed the press in his first conference since being hired with poise and character and promised "like I did at Notre Dame, I will right this ship".
Almost immediately, a divided fan base began to call into question Thomas's promise, noting his near loss to the same Stanford team that Giordano_5 had lead Nebraska to dominate. When asked about the matchups, Thomas noted that the same Stanford team had 3 different coaches over those 2 games, and the Stanford team who Nebraska played was a team "broken and playing for nothing, instead of a team playing for a big win in a marquee matchup" when they played Notre Dame. After that address to the media, Thomas clarified by saying "Nebraska will remain competitive against the Iowas and Wisconsins and will continue to beat the Stanfords and Minnesotas, but you didn't hire me to remain competitive against the teams you've been competitive against before. You hired me to become competitive and beat the Michigan States and Purdues and Missouris that we'll be facing. That's what Nebraska will become". After that, fan approval skyrocketed and Nebraska fans began looking ahead to Nebraska's 2019 campaign. Bear Thomas orchestrated marquee out of conference matchups against Notre Dame, Colorado and Texas- traditional rivalries from decades past- and a matchup against Hawaii where former Nebraska head coach Giordano_5 left Nebraska for.
With Thomas' institution of the spread offense and 3-4 defense, he shared with the media that "no depth chart is in stone, all positions are up for grabs from every player". The most important position battles were the quarterback battle between senior and prior year starter Mitchel Jareo and redshirt sophomore Thom McClure; running back battle between redshirt senior Marcus Robinson, redshirt sophomore Jarelle Benson, and true freshman Derek McClure (Thom's younger brother); and numerous defensive backs primarily made up of Thomas' freshman recruits. Thom McClure would ultimately beat out senior Mitchel Jareo, who transferred away, Marcus Robinson would hold onto the first spot in the depth chart but the younger McClure would beat out Benson for the second slot, and all of Thomas' freshman defensive backs would take the starting roles in the defensive secondary. Thomas took the McClure brothers under his wing, claiming that they would be the leaders into the future of the Husker football program.
Thomas also serves as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball team simultaneously to head coaching the football team.
Bear Thomas grew up in Omaha, NE right across the Nebraska-Iowa border. As a child he grew a disliking for the Hawkeyes and dreamed of coaching the Huskers and sticking a shutout against Iowa. He is currently 0-0 against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The 2019 edition of the Heroes Game will take place week 12 of the fCFB regular season. This will be the first time Bear Thomas will coach against Iowa.
Bear Thomas always viewed the Wisconsin rivalry as rather friendly, and annoyingly lopsided. Thomas holds the 1-0 head to head record over the Badgers.
With first-year head coach Bear Thomas leading the team, the 2-3 Cornhuskers visited the 4-1 Wisconsin Badgers. Sitting right outside the top 25, the Badgers were the overwhelming favorite to beat Nebraska. However, Nebraska came out strong, scoring 14 unanswered points in the first quarter. The Badgers attempted a comeback in the 2nd, putting up 10 before Nebraska pulled out another Thom McClure touchdown just before halftime. Leading 21-10, Nebraska scored again in the third quarter to go up 28-10. After a touchdown, McClure interception, and another touchdown Wisconsin was able to pull within 5 points, down 23-28. However, Nebraska was able to grab the Badgers onside kick attempt and run out the clock, sealing their 28-23 victory. After the game, Coach Bear told the media, "be excited for the future of Husker football. We're gonna be beating these guys a lot."
Coach Bear was able to orchestrate a revival of the nontraditional rivalry between Nebraska and Texas for the 2nd season of fCFB. His intention was to bring back a semi-traditional non-conference rivalry long term and bring a little bit more flavor to the Nebraska out of conference schedule. The Longhorns are 1-0 against Thomas and the Cornhuskers.
The Cornhuskers played the Longhorns in week 2 of the 2019 regular season. After a referee mistake of allowing Texas to call the coin toss, Nebraska still won the toss and elected to defer. Texas started the game with a 20-play drive that spanned the entirety of the first quarter and the first few seconds of the second quarter and ended on a field goal. The drive consisted of the Longhorns going 2-for-2 on fourth down conversions.
Although the Longhorns would take and never relinquish the lead, the game was competitive throughout. The Huskers passing attack led by redshirt sophomore Thom McClure would put up 220 yards through the air and two touchdowns, while the Longhorns rushing attack would put up 236 yards and two touchdowns of their own. Both teams would return special teams touchdowns, Nebraska a kickoff and Texas a punt. The major difference between the teams was Nebraska ineffectiveness on the ground. Only eight yards rushing from two attempts, the second attempt leading to a fumble inside the Texas 5 yard line. In conjunction with the weak rushing game, Nebraska also committed two turnovers while Texas had none. Texas won the matchup with a final score of 31-21, handing Head Coach Bear Thomas his first loss as a division 1 head coach.
After the game, Coach Bear took responsibility on himself, citing "too many gamble calls that went the wrong way". He would continue, "I took the playbook offensively and on three separate occasions went for home runs when I only needed to go for small bites. Similarly, we got unlucky doing the same thing on the defensive side of the ball once. We'll learn from this, and prepare with that in mind for next week." The Nebraska faithful generally remained calm after the loss without any calls for firing, but plenty of speculation over the reliance on the passing game was shared in the state.
This matchup was not only the first loss for Thomas as a head coach, but also the first time his teams hadn't scored at least 35 points and had a negative turnover margin.
Coach Bear Thomas was able to orchestrate the revival of a traditional rivalry between the Cornhuskers and the Buffaloes. His intention was to bring back a traditional non-conference rivalry long term and, similarly to the Texas rivalry resurrection, bring back some excitement to the Nebraska out of conference schedule. The Buffaloes are 1-0 against Thomas and the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska played the Buffaloes in Boulder, CO during week 3 of the 2019 fCFB regular season. The game was marked with some drama for the Huskers after a tough and frustrating loss to the Texas Longhorns the week before and a vocal minority was already calling for Head Coach Bear Thomas's firing. The 0-2 Buffaloes were looking to steal a marquee win against a traditional rival, and came out strong with a touchdown drive to open the game, though the decision to go for it on 4th down at the Nebraska 15 was questioned by their fanbase. The decision was overshadowed by Coach Bear's decision to go for it on 4th down on the Nebraska side of the field, failing to convert and allowing Colorado to come out and score after only two plays. Down 14-0, the Cornhuskers drove downfield with an 11-play drive to score a touchdown behind quarterback Thom McClure's arm, going 6-for-7 and throwing for 53 yards on the drive. Nebraska would follow that up with another long touchdown drive, where McClure went 6-for-6 with 75 yards passing. The two rushing touchdowns tied the game between Colorado and Nebraska going into halftime.
The opening drive of the second half for the Huskers started strong, but ended on an interception in Husker territory and led to a 34-yard touchdown pass to put the Buffs up 20-14, after a missed PAT. McClure and the Nebraska offense responded immediately with a McClure-to-Chris Doolittle 75-yard touchdown pass to take the lead 21-20. Colorado fought back to the Nebraska 7-yard line and nailed a field goal to go up 23-21. The following drive, from the Colorado 42-yard line on 4th and 2, McClure threw a big touchdown to tight end Grant Matthews to retake the lead 27-23. The younger Derek McClure rushed the 2-point conversion to go up 29-23. The Buffs wasted no time driving down field on 6 plays, scoring with 0:55 left in the game and making the PAT to go up 30-29. The Cornhuskers didn't let up, though, and drove downfield, ending on a 20-yard pass to the Colorado 21... as time expired. The Buffaloes edged out the Cornhuskers by the clock, winning 30-29 in Boulder.
After the game, questions of Bear Thomas's clock management skills came into question, but was quickly erased by the explanation to hold the time out for a field goal the play before last, which ended up costing Nebraska by the skin of their teeth.
Notre Dame Rivalries
Though not a traditional rivalry like Notre Dame's with USC, The Notre Dame-Stanford matchup is a staple in their schedules and has history dating back to the 1920's. Bear Thomas led the Irish to victory in his only matchup against them as head coach.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish went to Stanford to face the Cardinal in the 2018 edition of this rivalry. The head coaches for this game were Bear Thomas (Notre Dame) and Butch Jones (Stanford), though Jones was eventually replaced by clarkhp during the game. The matchup started out with Stanford in control, up 17-7 halfway through the second quarter. Then Notre Dame was able to hold a defensive stand on their own 7 yard line, forcing a turnover on downs and driving all the way down the field for a touchdown. After a strong defensive performance on the following drive, the Irish was able to score again and hold the Cardinal once again on defense to take a 21-17 lead into the half.
The start of the second half opened up with Stanford recovering an onside kick and driving downfield for a touchdown, but the Irish was able to force a fumble on the PAT and run it back for 2 points, tying the game at 23-23. The ensuing kickoff was returned for a Notre Dame touchdown, which was then followed by a safety after the Notre Dame defense sacked the Cardinal QB in the endzone. With the Irish leading the Cardinal 32-23, the Stanford head coach Butch Jones suddenly disappeared, and after a penalty the Irish scored another touchdown and PAT, taking control of the game with a 39-23 lead.
With 2:50 left in the 3rd quarter, clarkhp took over as the interim head coach for the Stanford Cardinal. Before the end of the 3rd quarter, Stanford was able to score by touchdown plus convert on the 2-point conversion attempt. Going into the 4th quarter the Irish led the Cardinal 39-32. After a strong defensive quarter that included a blocked Notre Dame field goal attempt and a missed-wide-right Stanford field goal attempt, Stanford blocked a Notre Dame punt and drove into the red zone before scoring a touchdown with 0:40 left in the game, bringing the score 39-37 Notre Dame.
On the goal line for the Stanford 2-point conversion attempt, Notre Dame was able to make a tackle at the goal line to keep Stanford from tying the game. The Cardinal attempted an onside kick, but Notre Dame was able to recover and take a knee to seal the game and escape 39-37.
Though Notre Dame got the victory, they were beat out statistically by Stanford. Stanford's 448 yards of total offense (160 after clarkhp took over at the end of the 3rd quarter) topped Notre Dame's 338 yards of total offense (285 of which was through passing). The largest difference that kept Stanford in the game was the +3 turnover margin they held over Notre Dame. At the end of the game, however, the Irish was able to edge out the Cardinal in this matchup.