Marquis Pollard is the new head coach for the Thomas College men’s basketball team. Pollard, a former player and assistant at Thomas, has most recently coached in the prep ranks in North Carolina. Contributed photo/Thomas College Athletics

Marquis Pollard is ready to get to work at Thomas College.

Pollard, a former player and assistant coach at the school, was hired as the new head coach for the men’s basketball team last week. Pollard, who has recently been coaching in the prep ranks in North Carolina, just wrapped up this season as the head coach of the girls basketball team at John Paul II Catholic High School in Greenville, North Carolina.

“I’m really excited about it,” Pollard said. “I was a finalist (for the job) three years ago, didn’t work out then. I (added) to my resume and the opportunity presented itself. I talked to (Thomas athletic director Chris Parsons), and he’s doing great things with the athletic department and it was the right fit. I’m glad to be back. I’m excited to get started with the guys. I think we’ve got a good group and we’ll get back to winning and that tradition of family at Thomas College.”

Pollard was a forward for the Terriers from 2010-2014, serving as a captain under Darrell Alexander and Dick Whitmore during his senior season. Thomas went 53-49 during Pollard’s playing career. From 2014-2016, Pollard was an assistant coach under Geoff Hensley. He was also previously an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator at fellow North Atlantic Conference school, Northern Vermont-Lyndon.

Pollard takes the program over from Deshon Gaither, who led the Terriers to an 18-28 record over three years. This past season, Thomas went 4-14 (1-9 NAC), finishing last in the NAC East Division.

Pollard said he’d wants a more connected unit — on and off the court — within the program. He said he also wants to re-connect the program with alumni.


“Most importantly, I want to connect back with our alumni,” Pollard said. “That’s something that got lost — and not any coach’s fault — but the alumni part got lost over the last few years. I want to bring back the alumni and bring back the kind of family feel. Thomas is a small-knit community. With me being an alum, I kind of understand Thomas. Just trying to bring back that family tradition, that brotherhood. One of our pillars this year is going to be team unity. So, just trying to bring back that brotherhood and everybody kind of be cohesive and one unit, on and off the court.”

Marquis Pollard, hired as the new head coach of the Thomas College men’s basketball team last week, played for the Terriers from 2010-2014. Contributed photo/Thomas College Athletics

Pollard’s hiring adds an added wrinkle to Thomas’ rivalry with the University of Maine at Farmington. Pollard and UMF head coach Sam Leal formerly went head-to-head on the hardwood as players, and will be doing so again, leading their respective alma maters on the sidelines. The two have stayed connected over the years while moving along in the coaching ranks.

“We competed against each other for four years, and the Thomas-Farmington rivalry was definitely among the best in the conference during my time as a player,” Leal said. “I look forward to it continuing now from the sidelines. We’ll always be good friends from a competition standpoint. But then once that game starts, it’ll be as heated as ever. We’ll want to beat them, they’ll want to beat us. It’ll just add little more fuel to the fire.”

“We’ve stayed in touch over the years and I think he’s done a tremendous job at Farmington,” Pollard said. “I think having that alumni presence as a coach, it helps with recruiting, it helps with school (relations). But we can connect with our recruits and connect with our players on a different level than a guy who comes from the outside… There’s great coaches (in the NAC) and I think it adds to the competition. We all want to beat each other, but we’re friends. At the end of the day, it’s all good.”

Thomas will have most of its roster back next season, including Forest Hills graduate Parker Desjardins, who averaged 9.1 points per game last season as a freshman, and Caribou native Sawyer Deprey, who averaged 12.9 points per game.

Marquis Pollard, far left, is the new men’s basketball coach for Thomas College in Waterville. Pollard is a former player (2010-2014) and assistant (2014-2016) with the Terriers. Contributed photo/Thomas College Athletics

“I like it, I think we return a roster of 17 guys,” Pollard said. “During the interview process, I was able to connect to a few of the guys. They’re really excited, eager to get started. They’re really eager to work hard. Usually, it takes a while for some of the young guys to get that mindset, to be better, get better and want to win. From the sounds of it, talking to those guys, they want to turn things around and get back on the winning track. They want to work hard. I’m obviously excited about that. We’ll try to bring on one or two more guys. But I’m really excited with where the roster is and think we’ve really got some talent to make some noise over the next couple of years.”

UMF swept Thomas in both regular season meetings, beating the Terriers 72-67 on Jan. 25 and 91-69 on Feb. 12. But Leal said he’s been impressed with Thomas’ roster.

“Thomas has some young talent, and they competed really, really well this year,” Leal said. “And they all gained a ton of game experience. They were playing a ton of freshmen and sophomores that got a lot of experience getting college minutes. I think they’ll be able to adjust quite quickly. I know Marquis will do an excellent job leading the group and coming up with a good game plan for success.”

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