St. Thomas University Sports

Saint Thomas University Sports

Saint Thomas University Baseball

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

Sports at St. Thomas University in Miami

St. Thomas University (STU) in Miami Gardens has successfully grown their sports program over the last few decades, offering endless opportunities for student-athletes. The private Roman Catholic school’s athletics program began in 1965 with men’s basketball, and today, St. Thomas boasts 20 varsity sports teams known as the “Bobcats.”

Young men can participate in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, soccer, swimming and diving, track and field and wrestling; while young women are offered the chance to compete in basketball, softball, golf, soccer, tennis, swimming and diving, volleyball, beach volleyball and cross country.

“ Watching the evolution and growth of our program and our facilities has been very exciting,” says Laura Courtley-Todd, director of athletics. “ Alumni come back to visit and we get to see the pride in their faces as they see how much the campus has changed. Our little “ Biscayne College,” the original name of St. Thomas University, with only one building has grown into an academic and athletic powerhouse.”

Football Game
Football Game

Football

On September 7, 2019, St. Thomas University officially played its first game as part of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics). The plan to bring football to STU was first announced by its President, David J. Armstrong, who is a member of the Football Hall of Fame at his Alma Mater, Mercyhurst University. The Bobcats finished their first season with a 4-6 overall record with wins over Union (first win in program history), Allen, Warner (first Mid-South win) and Faulkner (first home win).

Bobcats Baseball Team
Bobcats Baseball Team

Baseball

STU’s standout sport is baseball, with the Bobcats baseball team capturing numerous conference championships and making appearances at five NAIA World Series. The Bobcats finished runner-up at the 2015 NAIA World Series, the highest national finish in the school’s history in any sport.

The baseball program has seen a strong lineage of successful coaches over the years including Paul Mainieri, an established coach who has spent time at baseball powerhouses such as Notre Dame and LSU; Al Avila, the current executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager of the Detroit Tigers; and Manny Mantrana, the current Director of Athletics - Mountain View College. St. Thomas plays its home games on campus at Paul Demie Mainieri Field. The Bobcats also have the unique opportunity to train at the same facilities as elite Major League Baseball players — they use the state-of-the-art Boras Batting Cages as part of a partnership with the Boras Sports Training Institute. The facility was donated by and named after baseball super agent, Scott Boras.

Cheerleader
Cheerleader

Basketball

Men’s basketball also has a long, rich history at St. Thomas University. The hoops program started in 1965 under legendary Head Coach Ken Stibler, who collected 216 wins from 1965-1983. In recent seasons, the Bobcats have made six NAIA National Tournament appearances.

In 2009, the Fernandez Family Center on campus opened its doors as the new home for Bobcats men’s basketball and for the return of women’s basketball to St. Thomas. The women’s team has seen significant success since its return, with over five Sun Conference championships and multiple NAIA National Tournament appearances.

Game Day
Game Day

Champions On and Off the Court

The St. Thomas Athletic program is a strong advocate of the NAIA’s “ Champions of Character” program, instilling in the Bobcat student-athletes the core values of integrity, sportsmanship, responsibility and servant leadership.

The school also emphasizes the importance of balancing athletics and academics. “ Our student-athletes understand the importance of being a student first. Watching them compete at national tournaments and then seeing them accept their diplomas solidifies that we are doing things right at STU,” says Courtley-Todd. “ Our philosophy is to provide a pathway to a college education through athletics participation whereby the student-athletes develop as champions of character and leaders for life.” 

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