Category Archives: Mel Thomas

Mel Thomas Is Really Loving Life At Florida Gulf Coast Now

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Florida Gulf Coast, Mel Thomas, UConn women's basketball Date:

Sometimes you just get lucky in life. Mel Thomas, the former UConn point guard, the noted author and three-point shooter, is in the midst of building her administrative career in women’s basketball at this tiny, little start up school in Ft. Myers, Fla.

You may have heard of it? Florida Gulf Coast? Great men’s basketball team, now in the Sweet 16. Bye-bye Georgetown and San Diego State?

Yes, that one.

I saw Melanie at the Paradise Jam Tournament in November. She was doing what the director of basketball operations for the Florida Gulf Coast women’s team does – administering to the small details than pave the path for the players and coaches.

And on Sunday, after the Eagles beat the Aztecs in the second-round, I asked her if she would be willing to write the Courant a little story about what it’s like to work in the men’s basketball capital of the nation.

Melanie said yes.

Read on…

“I woke up yesterday morning, unsure if it was all a dream.  A team from a no-name university makes history, becoming the first 15-seed to ever reach the Sweet 16.  Then I started to see the fury of headlines: “Cinderella With Serious Swagger”, “The Darlings of March Madness”, “Is FGCU America’s Team?”

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Mel Thomas Back At Paradise Jam – In Different Role

by Categorized: Mel Thomas, Paradise Jam, UConn women's basketball Date:

You’ll recall one of UConn’s starting guards the last time they played here at the Paradise Jam was senior Mel Thomas. And Thomas is here again, only this time as the director of operations for Florida Gulf Coast University, for whom she has worked for three seasons.

“It’s weird being here again, only this time from a different perspective,” Thomas said. “None of my former UConn teammates are here, but I have all the memories. It’s a fun, new experience.

“Our team is very young, with nine new players, and we’ve already had a few knee injuries – and I certainly know how that goes. Right now, we may struggle a bit, but we will eventually be a good team. This is a new experience for us. We are throwing the girls into the fire and see how they make it.”

FGCU, which is located in Ft. Myers, Fla., played DePaul tough in their first game Thursday before losing.

Thomas remembers the great promise UConn’s 2007-08 team had and how it felt when it returned from St. Thomas.

“I remember thinking there was no way we could lose a game. That’s the mindset we had. And we didn’t lose while I was playing,” said Thomas smiling.

Her career ended with a knee injury at Syracuse on Jan. 15, 2008.  It came just a few weeks after Kalana Greene’s year ended against South Carolina, also because of a knee injury.

UConn went to the Final Four 36-1, but lost to Stanford in the semfinal.

“It was very hard to watch Kalana go down, and then not be able to play, either,” Thomas said. “We had something special and we had a lot of fun.”

Notes From St. Thomas With The UConn Women

by Categorized: ACC, Big East women's basketball, Doug Bruno, Geno Auriemma, Mel Thomas, Paradise Jam, Warde Manuel Date:

Greetings from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands and the 2013 Paradise Jam for women’s basketball

Some idle thoughts as I try to get used to the fact we are ONE HOUR ahead of East Coast time…

* Arrived Tuesday afternoon and the place looks much the same as it did five years when I was here with the team in 2007. Supposedly, they spent millions to renovate the hotel. None of it was on air conditioning. The open air lobby is sauna steamy. Makes we yearn from the crisp autumn air.

* Five years ago, iguana over-populated the landscape at the resort. They camped out on every stone step in pairs, one on each side. And there are many stone steps to climb. I haven’t seen one yet, which is good because I am as terrified of them as I was of Tom Coughlin, when I covered the New York Giants. I could be a wiseguy and say they were obliterated by the Big Ten, by I won’t do that.

* The UConn women arrived Monday. The UConn men are still here but are leaving later today [Wednesday]. Last night at dinner time, the men were roaming around the hotel  looking for something to eat and astonished that hardly anything on the menu worth eating was less than $35 at any of the restaurants. I left them still roaming. Wouldn’t be a problem for Andre Drummond or Jeremy Lamb these days, would it?

* Briefly saw former Huskie guard Melanie Thomas last night in the lobby. She is the director of operations for Florida Gulf Coast, which is here in the Reef Division, which means her team does not play UConn, which is in the Island Division. Got that?

* UConn athletic director Warde Manuel is here. When I saw him last night, a golf glove was flopping from a back pocket. I assume that means he was playing golf or couldn’t find a napkin. Warde was not wearing an ACC golf shirt.

* The UConn women went snorkeling on Tuesday. They are 1-0 in the Snorkel Division.

* Bria Hartley is expected to play for the first time on Thursday against Wake Forest. Her severely sprained ankle has been responding well enough to convince the medical staff to give her the go. When she starts someone will sit. Will that be Faris, KML or Stewart? We’ll see if Geno will tell me later.

More soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mel Thomas In Paradise (Jam)

by Categorized: Big East women's basketball, Mel Thomas, SNY, UConn women's basketball Date:

The organizers of this year’s women’s basketball Paradise Jam have completed the field of eight teams with Florida Gulf Coast.

Why is that as refreshing as a Caribbean breeze? Former UConn guard Mel Thomas is its director of basketball operations.

However, Florida Gulf Coast has been placed in the Reef Division and scheduled to play DePaul, South Carolina and Hampton.

UConn, in the Island Division, plays Wake Forest, Purdue and Marist from Nov. 22-24.