Thibault was previously the head coach of the Connecticut Sun from 2003-2012 where he led the team to a cumulative 206-134 record and only failed to coach a .500 team once (2009) when he was there. In addition, the Sun made two Finals appearances in 2004 and 2005 but his teams ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm and Sacramento Monarchs respectively. Over his ten years, Thibault also was the WNBA Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008.
A number of notable players were all-star caliber or better players under his watch, including Lindsay Whalen, Katie Douglas, Nykesha Sales, Kara Lawson, current MVP Tina Charles and current Sixth Woman of the Year, Renee Montgomery. Many if not most of these players played many, if not all of their early years under his system.
Thibault is also known for being a notable NBA scout and assistant, where he was on Paul Westhead’s staff for the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship team in 1979-1980, and was an assistant on Pat Riley’s staff for the 1981-1982 championship team. From 1982-1986 he was an assistant coach and scouting director for the Chicago Bulls, where somewhere along the way, he got a chance to get the greatest player of all time. In the 1990’s he was also an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, and Seattle SuperSonics.
This job isn’t his first time as a GM at some level where he served as a GM and head coach for the World Basketball League’s Calgary 88’s and the Continental Basketball League’s Omaha Racers, where he won a CBA championship in 1993. Though he has helped his teams reach successful heights very quickly in many of his previous stops, the Mystics job may be his toughest job yet. And the Mystics can definitely use a basketball professional who has this type of experience under his belt.
The team currently has a veteran laden roster that lacks talent depth at every position aside from forward where Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, and Iziane Castro Marques play. In addition, the Mystics lack guard talent the most, where Matee Ajavon, the team’s best guard is more of a play finisher than a playmaker.
To top it all off, the Mystics ended up with the 4th pick of the 2013 Draft during September’s draft lottery which was a devastating blow to the beleaguered team. If Thibault tries to trade this pick away for a higher pick or a higher impact player, there is a significant chance that Langhorne will also be dealt.
We give our congratulations and best luck wishes to Coach Thibault as he takes the reigns of the Mystics. This job will be challenging, but with some sound personnel moves and coaching, things may be able to turn around over the long haul in the nation’s capital.