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Mike Francis Thibault (born September 28, 1950) is an American basketball head coach, formerly of the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA,[1] and now of the Washington Mystics.[2] In 2013, Thibault became the WNBA's all time winningest coach with 212 victories.[3]

Mike Thibault
Mike Thibault-20170914.jpg
Thibault during the 2017 WNBA Semifinals
Washington Mystics
PositionHead coach / General manager
Personal information
Born (1950-09-28) September 28, 1950 (age 68)
St. Paul, Minnesota
Career information
CollegeSaint Martin's
Coaching career1980–present
Career history
As coach:
19801982Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)
19821986Chicago Bulls (assistant)
1988Calgary 88's
1989–1997Omaha Racers
19982002Milwaukee Bucks (assistant)
20032012Connecticut Sun
2013–presentWashington Mystics
Career highlights and awards
As head coach:

As assistant coach:



Upon his graduation from Saint Martin's University in 1979, Thibault entered into the employ of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association, for whom he worked first as a scout and, after 1980, as director of scouting and as an assistant coach; during Thibault's tenure, the Lakers twice won the league championship.

Thibault left the Lakers for the Chicago Bulls in 1982 and remained with the latter organization through the 1985-86 season, serving as an assistant coach and director of scouting; under Thibault, the team drafted shooting guard Michael Jordan and power forward Charles Oakley and acquired John Paxson, each of whom would contribute to the Bulls' earning six league championships between 1991 and 1999.

Thibault left the NBA for the World Basketball League in 1988 and served for two seasons as the head coach and franchise general manager for the Calgary 88's, winning the league's coach of the year award in 1988.

In 1989, Thibault began an eight-year stint as general manager and head coach of the Omaha Racers of the Continental Basketball Association, in which capacity he led the team to the league playoffs in each season; his team claimed the 1993 championship and once more reached the league finals one year thence.

Contemporaneously, Thibault worked for USA Basketball as a coach for the United States national team, leading the national side to a gold medal at the 1993 FIBA World Championship qualifying tournament and a silver medal at the 1995 Pan American Games.

Thibault returned to the NBA during the league's 1997-98 season and, through 2003, served as a scout and assistant coach for each of the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, and Seattle SuperSonics; most prominently, Thibault spent four seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks as an advisor and assistant to George Karl.

Wearing a University of Minnesota tie, Thibault hugs Lindsay Whalen at her retirement in 2018

Thibault was hired by the Sun in March 2003 to replace Dee Brown; Thibault garnered the WNBA Coach of the Year Award subsequent to the 2006 season, when he led the Sun to the Eastern Conference finals. Thibault would again win the award in 2008 with the Sun.

On December 18, 2012, Thibault was introduced as the new head coach & general manager of the Washington Mystics. He led a revival of the team, getting them to the playoffs and earning a win there for the first time since 2004. For his efforts, Thibault once again earned the Coach of the Year award, joining Van Chancellor as the only coaches to win the award three times.[4][5]

On July 7, 2018, when the Mystics beat the Los Angeles Sparks, Thibault became the first WNBA coach to reach 300 wins.[6]

USA BasketballEdit

Thibault in 2011

Thibault served as an assistant coach for the USA National team in 2006, a team in transition. Lisa Leslie, who had led the team in scoring in the 2004 Olympics, the 2002 World Championships, the 2000 Olympics, the 1998 World Championships, and the 1996 Olympics was no longer on the team. Sheryl Swoopes was available but hampered by injuries, with Staley transitioning from player to coach. Newcomers Sue Bird, Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi picked up the slack, but it was a team in transition. As an additional challenge, some members of the squad were unable to join the team for practices due to WNBA commitments. The team started out strong, winning each of the six preliminary games, including the game against Russia. In the quarterfinals, the USA team beat Spain 90–56. The semifinal was a rematch against Russia, but this time the Russian team prevailed, 75–68. The USA faced Brazil in the bronze medal game, and won easily 99–59.[7]


Mike and his wife Nanci have two children. A son, Eric, who is a member of the Mystics coaching staff and a daughter, Carly, who is an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota.[8][9]

Coaching RecordEdit

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
CON 2003 34 18 16 .529 3rd in East 4 2 2 .500 Lost in Conference Finals
CON 2004 34 18 16 .529 1st in East 8 5 3 .625 Lost in WNBA Finals
CON 2005 34 26 8 .765 1st in East 8 5 3 .625 Lost in WNBA Finals
CON 2006 34 26 8 .765 1st in East 5 3 2 .600 Lost in Conference Finals
CON 2007 34 18 16 .529 3rd in East 3 1 2 .333 Lost in Conference Semifinals
CON 2008 34 21 13 .618 2nd in East 3 1 2 .333 Lost in Conference Semifinals
CON 2009 34 16 18 .471 6th in East Missed Playoffs
CON 2010 34 17 17 .500 5th in East Missed Playoffs
CON 2011 34 21 13 .618 2nd in East 2 0 2 .000 Lost in Conference Semifinals
CON 2012 34 25 9 .735 1st in East 5 3 2 .600 Lost in Conference Finals
WAS 2013 34 17 17 .500 3rd in East 3 1 2 .333 Lost in Conference Semifinals
WAS 2014 34 16 18 .471 3rd in East 2 0 2 .000 Lost in Conference Semifinals
WAS 2015 34 18 16 .529 4th in East 3 1 2 .333 Lost in Conference Semifinals
WAS 2016 34 13 21 .382 6th in East - - - - Missed Playoffs
WAS 2017 34 18 16 .529 3rd in East 5 2 3 .400 Lost in Semifinals
WAS 2018 34 22 12 .647 2nd in East 9 4 5 .444 Lost in WNBA Finals
Career 544 310 234 .570 60 28 32 .467


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Mike Thibault Named Mystics Head Coach and General Manager". WNBA. December 18, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  3. ^ "Mike Thibault Becomes WNBA's All-Time Winningest Coach". WNBA. Retrieved September 16, 2017.
  4. ^ "Mystics' Mike Thibault named WNBA Coach of the Year". USA Today. AP. September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  5. ^ Michaelson, Lee (September 21, 2013). "Mystics' Thibault picks up third WNBA Coach-of-the-Year Award". Lee Michaelson. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  6. ^ "Mike Thibault's Career in Photos". WNBA. July 7, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "Fifteenth World Championship for Women -- 2006". USA Basketball. September 12–23, 2006. Archived from the original on May 25, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  8. ^ "Coaches". Archived from the original on August 22, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
  9. ^ {{cite web|url=

External linksEdit