March Madness: Jim Thrash aims for excellence on court, in garage

The Purdue Boilermakers are entering the 2012 NCAA Tournament with an outside chance to win it all. Finishing the season with 20 wins, the Boilermakers turned it around after a disappointing 2010-2011 season by winning 12 of their first 15 regular season games, even if they dimmed in the late part of the season. The Boilermakers notably lost big games against teams that ranked in the top 25 such as Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State.

Entering the upcoming March Madness as a number 10 seed, Purdue will play number 7 St. Mary’s in the second round. While this might be a challenge for the team, one of its coaches will still be able to enjoy all the perks that come from being a coach even if the team loses.

According to Purdue University’s official athletic site, assistant coach Jim Thrash, who joined the team after two years as the head coach of the college of Southern Idaho and who is in his second season, is also a classic car enthusiast – a luxury afforded by his job at the top university.

Thrash is the owner of a 1965 Chevrolet Malibu convertible and a 1966 Mustang convertible. While not generally placed in the same tier as the pony cars from that era, the ’65 Malibu has a sleek look that helped it maintain its status, even if the current mid-size version lacks much of the classic style of earlier models.

While the website doesn’t go into detail about the coach’s classic cars, his Malibu could boast a number of specifications. For example, Malibus of that era came with a number of custom options, so Thrash’s convertible could include patterned cloth interior or deep-twist carpet, provided the interior has been maintained.

Still, Thrash may need a good ride in one of those beauties after the tournament is over. Vegas experts put the team’s chances of winning the championship at 100 to one.