Mike Thibault: Where is Lakers’ Ex-Assistant Coach Now?

Image Credit: WNBA/YouTube

HBO’s ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ follows the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team during the peak of their popularity in the 80s. However, the series also sheds light on some of the unsung heroes of the era. In the second season, head coach Paul Westhead struggles to control the dressing room and brings on assistant Mike Thibault to help in the management department. As a result, viewers must be curious to learn more about Thibault’s tenure with the Lakers and his present whereabouts.

Mike Thibault Now Works For the Washington Mystics

Michael Francis Thibault, better known as Mike Thibault, was born on September 28, 1950, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He attended the Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. Thibault graduated in 1979 and joined the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, starting his career in the NBA as a Scout. He later became the Scouting Director before being brought on as an Assistant Coach during the tenure of Paul Westhead. After the latter was fired in the early months of the 1981-82 season, Thibault continued as an Assistant under the former’s replacement, Pat Riley, as the Lakers won the 1982 NBA Championship.

Image Credit: Washington Mystics/YouTube

After the 1981-82 NBA season, Thibault left the Lakers to join the Chicago Bulls as an Assistant Coach and Scouting Director. The Bulls signed Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley during his tenure, and the two went on to win several NBA Championships with the team. Thibault left the Bulls in 1986 and joined the World Basketball League side Calgary 88’s. He served as the team’s Head Coach and General Manager for a solitary season. Next, Thibault joined as the Head Coach and Assistant Manager of the Omaha Racers in the Continental Basketball Association in 1989. He spent eight years with the team, winning the league title once in 1993.

In the 90s, Thibault also served as the Head Coach of the United States national team while working as a Scout and Assistant Coach for several NBA outfits, including Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, and Seattle SuperSonics. In 2003, he was appointed the Head Coach of Connecticut Sun in the Women’s National Basketball Association. The Suns reached the WNBA Finals twice under Thibault, who won the WNBA Coach of the Year Award in 2006 and 2008. Besides, he was a part of the US Basketball women’s team that won the Gold medal at the 2008 Olympic games.

After the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, Thibault left the Suns to join the Washington Mystics as the Head Coach and General Manager. In 2019, the Mystics won the WNBA Championship under him. Thibault spent ten seasons with the Mystics before announcing his retirement from coaching at the end of the 2021-22 WNBA season. He holds the record for the most wins as a head coach in the WNBA, with 379 victories in 688 games. Moreover, he is the second Coach in the league’s history to win the WNBA Coach of the Year Award thrice in his career.

Thibault is married to Nanci Thibault, and the couple has two children. His son, Eric Thibault, started his coaching career as an Assistant with the Washington Mystics under his father. Following Thibault’s retirement, he serves as the Mystics’ Head Coach. Thibault’s daughter, Carly Thibault, is also a basketball coach at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He continues to be a part of the Mystics’ day-to-day operations as its General Manager and reportedly resides with his family in the Washington, D.C. area.

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