Anastos played junior hockey from 1979-1981 for the Paddock Pool Saints in Ecorse, Michigan, a U.S. Junior A hockey program of the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League, now named the North American Hockey League. Paddock Pool won the league championship during both of Anastos' seasons with the team. He has the distinction of being the first ever NAHL player drafted by an NHL team when he was selected in the sixth round, 124th overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft. Anastos played the center position in juniors.
In 1980, Anastos was drafted by the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, but he chose to play college hockey at Michigan State after being recruited by MSU assistant coach Shawn Walsh. A four-year letter-winner under coach Ron Mason from 1981–1985, Anastos played in 151 games, notched 70 goals and 73 assists for 153 total career points. Anastos holds the MSU school record for short-handed goals in a season (7 in 1983–1984). His 10 career short-handed goals are tied for fourth all-time in MSU hockey history. Anastos played the right wing position in college.
As a senior, Anastos earned second-team all-conference honors and was named to the all-tournament teams at the Great Lakes Invitational in 1984 and the CCHA Tournament in 1985.
Anastos joined the American Hockey League Sherbrooke Canadiens, the top farm club of the Montreal Canadiens, in 1985. In one season for Sherbrooke, he played in 55 games notching nine goals and 18 assists. Anastos retired from playing hockey in 1986 to finish his college degree.
Tom Anastos has coached for one National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) program, the University of Michigan-Dearborn Wolves (UMD), and one NCAA program, the Michigan State University Spartans. While at Michigan-Dearborn, Anastos guided the Wolves to two conference championships. In eight seasons as a head coach, Anastos has compiled a record of 136 wins, 127 losses and 41 ties.
Anastos was named an assistant coach for the varsity ice hockey program at University of Michigan-Dearborn by head coach Dave Rosteck prior to the 1986-87 season. Rosteck resigned at the end of the season to become athletic director and Anastos, age 23, was named head coach on March 11, 1987. In hopes of moving the hockey program to NCAA Division I status, UMD under Anastos increased full scholarships to over 15 and played over 20 games per season against NCAA Division I competition which included the likes of Alaska, Alaska-Anchorage, Air Force, Maine, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Union, and Western Michigan. He achieved a 68–37–7 record over three seasons while Michigan-Dearborn administration was simultaneously conducting a three-year evaluation of athletics. The evaluation was supposed to help move UMD from NAIA to NCAA Division II, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Instead, the evaluation suggested keeping only the sports the NAIA sponsored or eliminating varsity athletics altogether because a move to NCAA Division II status would increase the athletic budget and quadruple student fees.
With varsity status uncertain at UMD, Anastos accepted an assistant coach position at Michigan State University in 1990. Shortly after Anastos resigned, Michigan-Dearborn dropped varsity hockey since the sport was not sanctioned by the NAIA (the association stopped sponsoring hockey in 1984) and the team was not sanctioned by the NCAA.
On July 21, 1992, Anastos resigned as assistant coach at Michigan State to enter private business in the Detroit area.
Anastos returned to Michigan State on March 23, 2011 when he was named head coach. He succeeded Rick Comley whose contract was not renewed following the 2010-2011 season. Anastos was the sixth head coach in the history of Michigan State hockey. During his first season as head coach, he guided Michigan State to its 27th appearance in the NCAA Tournament losing to Union College in the first round.
Anastos was president of the North American Hockey League from 1994-1998. As president, Anastos oversaw expansion to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, St. Louis, and Chicago.
He was announced as the new commissioner of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) on March 18, 1998, a roll he served in through 2011. While Commissioner of the CCHA, Anastos was recognized by The Hockey News for his last five years on the list of the 100 most influential and powerful people in the sport. He also served as President of the Hockey Commissioner’s Association (HCA), a group composed of the five commissioners from NCAA Division I Hockey. In 2010, “he was key in the procuring of a grant from the National Hockey League through USA Hockey. The funding was used . . . to create College Hockey Inc., an educational and promotional entity charged with raising the profile and help foster the growth of college hockey”.
Anastos attended Fordson High School in Dearborn, Michigan. Anastos received a bachelor's degree in construction management from Michigan State University in 1987.
Before taking the head coaching job in East Lansing, Anastos lived in Farmington Hills, Michigan with his wife, Lisa. They have five children, daughters Lauren, Jenna, Alyssa, and Andrea, and son Andrew. Lauren played four years of NCAA Division III hockey at Adrian College. Jenna played college basketball at Division II Northwood University. Andrea (Andie) is a senior forward and captain on the Boston College Eagles women's ice hockey team.