LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lamar Thomas, former Miami three-sport great and eight-year veteran of the NFL, has been hired as Kentucky’s wide receivers coach, it was announced by Coach Mark Stoops on Tuesday.
Thomas, one of the most productive wide receivers in college football history, joins the Kentucky coaching staff after two seasons at Louisville, a season with Western Kentucky and two years at Hampton.
“I’ve known Lamar since my time at Miami and have always thought highly of him,” Stoops said. “The competitiveness Lamar showed as a player has translated into his work ethic as a coach. I’ve followed his career and been impressed with how his players play and how he handles himself on the recruiting trail. We’re excited to have him on our staff.”
During the last two seasons, Thomas guided a productive wide receiving corps for Louisville’s offensive attack. During his first season, he mentored DeVante Parker, who was the Cards’ first ever top-15 NFL draft selection. Parker was picked by Miami with the 14th overall selection after leading the team in receiving with 855 yards on 43 receptions and five scores in just six games. Another of Thomas’ wide receivers, Eli Rogers was a free-agent signee by Pittsburgh and earned a spot on the Steelers’ reserve squad.
In 2015, Thomas helped junior James Quick to a 39-catch season with 624 yards and a team-high five TDs despite missing two games with injury. In addition, Jamari Staples caught 37 passes for a team-high 638 yards and three touchdowns. In his two years at Louisville, the Cardinals went 17-9 and made two bowl appearances.
One season at Western Kentucky
In his season at WKU, Thomas’ wide receivers were key components in the Hilltoppers setting single-season school records for passing yardage and total offense. Wide receivers Willie McNeal and Joel German enjoyed career seasons, catching 46 and 26 passes, respectively. McNeal eclipsed the 100-catch mark for his career in 2013 as well as the 1,000-yard mark.
Also at WKU, Thomas developed a pair of freshmen, Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris, into dynamic receivers. The duo combined for 57 catches and 701 yards, while Norris tallied four touchdowns on the season and caught at least one pass in all 12 games. The Hilltoppers went 8-4 that season.
Prior to his year at Western Kentucky, Thomas spent two seasons coaching the wide receivers at Hampton. In 2011, four of his wide receivers caught at least 33 passes each as the Pirates went 7-4.
Before beginning his collegiate coaching career, Thomas served as passing game coordinator for three seasons at Boynton Beach Community High in Boynton Beach, Fla. During his tenure, the Tigers qualified for the Florida High School Athletic Association playoffs for the first time in school history. He also coached varsity basketball and track.
“There are a lot of good things going on in the Kentucky football program and the opportunity came up for me to be a part of it and I couldn’t pass it up,” Thomas said. “I’ve known Coach Stoops a long time. He used to visit the high school I worked for in Florida when he recruited for Florida State and he’s always been a stand-up person and a person I really like and admire. I like how he runs his program and what he stands for. I look forward to coaching in the SEC and I also look forward to coaching the receivers at UK. I can’t wait.”
Standout receiver at Miami (Fla.)
Thomas was a standout wide receiver at Miami (Fla.) from 1988-92, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, while lettering in football, basketball, and track. His impressive career earned him induction into the Miami Hall of Fame in 2013. Thomas was a two-time All-Big East consensus first-team selection as a receiver. He also played basketball in 1990 for Leonard Hamilton, and he competed in track, winning the 1992 BIG EAST outdoor high jump title with a jump of 6-7.5.
While at Miami, Thomas won two national championships (1989, 1991) and holds the school record for the most career receptions (144). When he graduated, he ranked second in both receiving yards (2,271) and touchdowns (23), behind only NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin.
After his collegiate career, Thomas was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by Tampa Bay, where he played three seasons (1993-95), before finishing his career with Miami (1996-2000). His career totals featured 106 catches for 1,558 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Scholastically, Thomas was a four-sport letterman at F.W. Buchholz High in Gainesville, Fla., where he was a first team all-state selection in football and basketball his senior year.
Lamar and his wife Erin have a daughter, Parker.
Buchholz HS (Gainesville, Fla.)
Miami (Fla.), 1992
Miami (Fla.): 1988-92
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1993-95
Miami Dolphins: 1996-2000
2008-10: Boynton Beach HS (Passing game coordinator)
2011-12: Hampton (Wide Receivers)
2013: Western Kentucky (Wide Receivers)
2014-15: Louisville (Wide Receivers)
2016: Kentucky (Wide Receivers)