Washington Mystics head coach and general manager Mike Thibault returns to USA Basketball as an assistant coach for the 2022 USA National Team at its February training camp and the 2022 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Washington, D.C.
Thibault previously compiled a 61-8 record with both men’s and women’s teams from 1993-2008, culminating with the women’s 2008 Olympic gold medalist team.
Thibault was an assistant coach for the gold-medal-winning women’s team at the 2008 Olympic Games and 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the bronze-medal-winning 2006 FIBA World Cup. He was head coach of two USA Basketball men’s teams, including the gold-medal winning 1993 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Team and silver medalist U.S. team at the 1995 Pan American Games.
Mystics head coach and general manager since December 2012, Thibault is the winningest coach in WNBA history with 357 regular-season victories. He led the Mystics to the WNBA Finals in 2018 and to a WNBA championship in 2019. Thibault was named the WNBA Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008 when he was head coach of the Connecticut Sun, and he earned the honor again in 2013 as the Mystics head coach.
Thibault took over the Connecticut Sun program in 2003 and guided the team to the WNBA Eastern Conference playoffs in his first season coaching women's basketball. In doing so, he became the first coach in franchise history to advance the Sun in the WNBA playoffs. He then upped the ante in the next two seasons. Predicted to finish last in the conference in 2004, Thibault led his team to an 18-16 slate, then took the Sun on a run through the playoffs and into the WNBA Finals. In 2005 he piloted Connecticut to a league-best 26-8 record and a second consecutive appearance in the WNBA Finals. In his decade (2003-12) with the Sun, Thibault advanced his teams to the playoffs eight times, including WNBA Finals in 2004 and 2005.
In all, from 2003-21, Thibault's WNBA head coaching regular season record is 357-275 (.565) and he is 34-36 (.486) in the playoffs.
A 17-year men's professional coach, including two years (1980-81 and 1981-92) as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers and four years (1998-99 through 2001-02) as an assistant with the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, Thibault got his start with the World Basketball League's Calgary 88's in 1987-88. He also spent eight years (1989-90 through 1996-97) building a 236-205 record (.535 winning percentage) with the CBA's Omaha Racers, where his squads not only competed in the CBA playoffs each year, he led his teams to the 1993 CBA championship and returned the following year to the CBA Finals.
Hired as an assistant to George Karl and the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998-99, over the span of four seasons the Thibault-assisted Bucks compiled a 163-133 (.551 winning percentage), clinched the 2001 Central Division title and advanced to the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals. Additionally, he served as a scout under Karl during the 1997-98 season with the SuperSonics.
Thibault's professional basketball coaching career began in 1978-79. While an assistant coach at St. Martin's College (Wash.), the Los Angeles Lakers named him a part-time scout. Two seasons later, he was promoted to assistant coach and director of scouting. During his four years with the Lakers, Los Angeles won two NBA titles (1980, 1982).
After his stint with the Lakers Thibault worked as an assistant coach and director of scouting for the Chicago Bulls for four seasons (1982-83 through 1985-86), during a period when the franchise drafted Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley, while also acquiring John Paxson.
In 1988, as head coach of the World Basketball League Calgary 88's, he directed his squad to an overall record of 32-22, the regular season title, and for his efforts he was named the WBL Coach of the Year.