September 21, 2013 - Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)
NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2013 - Washington Mystics Head Coach/General Manager Mike Thibault, the winningest coach in WNBA history, is the recipient of the 2013 WNBA Coach of the Year Award, the WNBA announced today. Thibault, who also won the award in 2006 and 2008, received 12 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters.
The Seattle Storm's Brian Agler and Chicago Sky's Pokey Chatman tied for second with 11 votes apiece. Lin Dunn of the Indiana Fever (three), Gary Kloppenburg of the Tulsa Shock (one), and Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx (one) rounded out the vote-getters.
Thibault's three Coach of the Year awards are tied for the most in WNBA history with Van Chancellor, who earned the honor in each of the league's first three seasons (1997 through 1999). Thibault also joins Dan Hughes (2001, 2007) as the only coaches to win the award with two different teams.
In his first season at the helm in Washington, Thibault returned the Mystics to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, guiding the club to a 17-17 record and the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Thibault led a 12-game turnaround from a year ago when the Mystics finished 5-29. Just one year prior to that, Washington posted a 6-28 mark.
Thibault achieved a milestone on July 6, when the Mystics defeated the visiting Seattle Storm, 62-59. The win was the 212th regular-season victory for Thibault and moved him ahead of Chancellor into the top spot on the WNBA's all-time wins list.
Under Thibault, the revamped Washington roster features seven players who were not with the team in 2012, led by guard Ivory Latta, who signed with the Mystics as an unrestricted free agent this past winter and went on to be selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star squad. Thibault also orchestrated a trade that brought center Kia Vaughn to Washington, and added four rookies to the roster. Three of those rookies - Tayler Hill, Emma Meesseman, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt - made Washington the only team with three players receiving votes toward the All-Rookie Team.
Prior to joining the Mystics, Thibault spent 10 seasons (2003 through 2012) as head coach of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, leading that club to eight playoff appearances and two WNBA Finals. During his tenure with the Sun, Thibault compiled a 206-134 (.605) record and achieved several other milestones, including becoming the second coach in WNBA history to reach 200 regular-season victories, the third-fastest coach in league history to compile 100 wins (doing so in 159 games), and the fourth WNBA head coach to work at least 300 regular-season games.
In addition to his WNBA coaching duties, Thibault served as an assistant to Head Coach Anne Donovan on the
U.S. Women's National Team that won a gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Prior to joining the Sun in 2003, Thibault spent numerous years in various roles with NBA teams. He first joined the NBA in 1978 as a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers and was quickly promoted to director of scouting and assistant coach in 1980. During his tenure with the Lakers, the team won two NBA championships. From 1982-86, he served as the director of scouting for the Chicago Bulls, when that organization selected Michael Jordan, Charles Oakley, and John Paxson. Thibault went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks and also as a scout for the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks.
Below are the voting results for 2013 WNBA Coach of the Year Award as well as a list of past recipients:
2013 WNBA COACH OF THE YEAR RESULTS
12 Mike Thibault Washington Mystics
11 Brian Agler Seattle Storm
11 Pokey Chatman Chicago Sky
3 Lin Dunn Indiana Fever
1 Gary Kloppenburg Tulsa Shock
1 Cheryl Reeve Minnesota Lynx
WNBA COACH OF THE YEAR WINNERS
2013 Mike Thibault Washington Mystics
2012 Carol Ross Los Angeles Sparks
2011 Cheryl Reeve Minnesota Lynx
2010 Brian Agler Seattle Storm
2009 Marynell Meadors Atlanta Dream
2008 Mike Thibault Connecticut Sun
2007 Dan Hughes San Antonio Silver Stars
2006 Mike Thibault Connecticut Sun
2005 John Whisenant Sacramento Monarchs
2004 Suzie McConnell Serio Minnesota Lynx
2003 Bill Laimbeer Detroit Shock
2002 Marianne Stanley Washington Mystics
2001 Dan Hughes Cleveland Rockers
2000 Michael Cooper Los Angeles Sparks
1999 Van Chancellor Houston Comets
1998 Van Chancellor Houston Comets
1997 Van Chancellor Houston Comets