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Ticket Punched: Pacific taking retiring coach Bob Thomason to the Big Dance one more time

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Pacific coach Bob Thomason announced before this season began that his 25th year on the bench at his alma mater would be his last.

His team made sure he will go out in style on Saturday by winning the Big West Conference championship game over UC-Irvine 64-55 and earning a trip to the NCAA tournament. This is the seventh Big West championship for Thomason at Pacific, which will move to the West Coast Conference next season.

It will be the fifth time Thomason has coached the Tigers in the Big Dance. His 2004 and 2005 teams both pulled off first-round upsets but lost in the round of 32.

Thomason will retire after completing one of the best turnarounds in the nation this season. His program missed the postseason completely going 11-19 in 2011-12. The championship game victory improved the Tigers' record to 22-12 this season.

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