Thibodeau as head coach of the Chicago Bulls
January 17, 1958 |
New Britain, Connecticut
|High school||New Britain (New Britain, Connecticut)|
|College||Salem State (1977–1981)|
|1981–1984||Salem State (assistant)|
|1989–1991||Minnesota Timberwolves (assistant)|
|1992–1994||San Antonio Spurs (assistant)|
|1994–1996||Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)|
|1996–2003||New York Knicks (assistant)|
|2003–2007||Houston Rockets (assistant)|
|2007–2010||Boston Celtics (assistant)|
|Career highlights and awards|
As head coach:
As assistant coach:
As a defensive coach, he helped the Houston Rockets rank among the Top 5 in the league in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense from 2004 to 2007, and has helped his team finish in the league's Top 10 in team defense 15 times. He coached in 87 playoff games and was part of the 1999 NBA Finals as an assistant coach with the New York Knicks prior to joining the Boston Celtics, with whom he won the 2008 NBA Championship, serving as a defensive coach. In 2011 he was named the NBA Coach of the Year after leading the Bulls to a 62-win season. In 2012, he became the fastest coach in NBA history to earn 100 victories and finished as the runner-up for Coach of the Year.
Thibodeau played basketball at Salem State College and became an assistant coach at the school in 1981. In 1984, he became head coach at Salem State after serving three years as an assistant. One season later he became an assistant coach at Harvard University, where he spent the next four seasons. From there, he moved on to the NBA.
After four years at Harvard, he entered the NBA as an assistant coach with an expansion team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, under head coach Bill Musselman in 1989. Prior to the 1991–92 season, he joined the Seattle SuperSonics as an advance scout.
Thibodeau moved to the San Antonio Spurs the following season, where he worked as an assistant coach to Jerry Tarkanian, Rex Hughes and John Lucas for two seasons. After the 1993–94 season, he left the Spurs along with Lucas to become an assistant under Lucas with the Philadelphia 76ers. After the 1995–96 season, he again left simultaneously with Lucas, this time joining the New York Knicks as an assistant to head coach Jeff Van Gundy.
During his tenure with the Knicks, he helped the team set a then-NBA record by holding 33 consecutive opponents under 100 points in the 2000–01 season. As part of the Knicks coaching staff, he also helped Van Gundy to coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the 2000 All-Star Game. He spent seven years with the Knicks before joining the Houston Rockets prior to the 2003–04 season, where again he was an assistant to head coach Van Gundy.
On August 30, 2007, Thibodeau was named associate head coach of the Boston Celtics, who hoped to bolster their defense with his hiring. Eventually, he helped the Celtics become the best defensive team in the league with his expertise. On November 4, 2007, Thibodeau took over head coaching duties against the Toronto Raptors in place of Doc Rivers, who was unable to coach due to the death of his father earlier that day.
During the 2008 playoffs, Thibodeau had been rumored as a candidate for the vacant head coaching job with the New York Knicks, whom he worked for as an assistant coach for seven years, as well as the Chicago Bulls. However, he wasn't hired as the head coach of either franchise.
On June 2, 2010, the eve of the 2010 Finals, Thibodeau interviewed with officials from the Chicago Bulls for their vacant head coach position. On June 23, 2010, he was confirmed as the Bulls' head coach. Thibodeau was named the NBA Coach of the Year on May 1, 2011, after tying the record for most wins by a rookie head coach with 62. He also led the Bulls to their first 50-win season and first division title since the Michael Jordan era. The Bulls lost the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat.
On February 14, 2012, Tom Thibodeau clinched the position of Eastern Conference All-Star Coach for the All-Star Game in Orlando. At the time, the Bulls were first in the Eastern Conference.
With a win over the Orlando Magic on March 19, 2012, Thibodeau became the fastest coach in NBA history to earn 100 career victories. He accomplished this in 130 games, one game fewer than the record set previously by Avery Johnson in 2006. Thibodeau and the Bulls were the East's top seed entering the playoffs and also had the league's best regular season record and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
In Game 1 of the Bulls' first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, point guard Derrick Rose tore his ACL. Thibodeau defended his decision to keep Rose in the game with 1 minute, 22 seconds remaining in the game and the Bulls leading by 12 points. Commenting on Thibodeau's decision, Bulls general manager Gar Forman stated, "There is absolutely no issue there. It's a playoff game. They had cut a lead down (from 20) to 12. We're going to have our guys on the floor making sure we win the game. Tom is a terrific coach who does a lot of things well. One of the best things he does is pace our team." 
Rose missed the entire 2012–13 season, but despite his absence, the Bulls finished 45-37, second in the Central Division (behind the Indiana Pacers) and 5th in their conference. They defeated the Brooklyn Nets 4-3 (after leading 3-1) in the first round of the playoffs and lost to the Miami Heat 4–1 in the next round. On May 13, 2013, Thibodeau received a $35,000 fine for criticizing the referees during the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat.
Thibodeau finished third in 2014 NBA Coach of the Year voting. He led the second year straight Derrick Rose-less Bulls to the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference. However, the Bulls' season ended with a 4-1 series loss to the 5th seeded Washington Wizards.
Tension between Bulls front office and Thibodeau grew considerably over the 2014-15 season, which ended in a 6 game series loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Shortly following this loss, on May 28, 2015, the Bulls fired Thibodeau.
Head coaching record
|Salem State Vikings (Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference) (1984–1985)|
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win-loss %|
|Post season||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win-loss %|
|Chicago||2010–11||82||62||20||.756||1st in Central||16||9||7||.563||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|Chicago||2011–12||66||50||16||.758||1st in Central||6||2||4||.333||Lost in First Round|
|Chicago||2012–13||82||45||37||.549||2nd in Central||12||5||7||.417||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|Chicago||2013–14||82||48||34||.585||2nd in Central||5||1||4||.200||Lost in First Round|
|Chicago||2014–15||82||50||32||.610||2nd in Central||12||6||6||.500||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
A native of New Britain, Connecticut, Thibodeau graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science in counseling from Salem State University. In 1998, he was inducted into the New Britain Sports Hall of Fame.
Thibodeau is single and has never been married.
- Eric Zorn, What the H? How 'Thibs' says his last name, Chicago Tribune, March 21, 2011.
- Tom Thibodeau – Associate Head Coach, Celtics.com
- Christopher L. Gasper, It all stops with mastermind Thibodeau, The Boston Globe, June 4, 2008.
- Celtics Add Thibodeau to Coaching Staff, Celtics.com, August 30, 2007.
- New England native Thibodeau named Celtics assistant, Associated Press, August 30, 2007.
- Celtics add coach, The Boston Globe, August 30, 2007.
- Peter May, Thibodeau is Celtics' minister of defense, The Boston Globe, November 1, 2007.
- Mark Murphy, Celtics regular season report card, Boston Herald, April 19, 2008.
- Allen's last-second 3 caps milestone day as C's nip Raps, Associated Press, November 4, 2007.
- Alan Hahn, Knicks interested in Celtics assistant coach, Boston Herald, April 23, 2008.
- Thibodeau on radar – Assistant may be in line for top job, Boston Herald, April 24, 2008.
- Frank Isola, Boston's Tom Thibodeau helps stymie Kobe Bryant, Lakers, New York Daily News, June 7, 2008.
- K.C. Johnson, Bulls heading home after Thibodeau interview, Chicago Tribune, June 3, 2010.
- "Thibodeau named 18th head coach in franchise history". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. June 23, 2010. Retrieved June 23, 2010.
- "Tom Thibodeau fastest to 100 wins as Bulls unload on Magic". ESPN.com. March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "Bulls bash Cavs, clinch top seed". Fox Sports.com. April 27, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
- Johnson, K.C. (April 28, 2012). "One horrific play, and Rose's season over". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
- Modrowski, Roman (April 28, 2012). "Tom Thibodeau defends decision". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
- Johnson, K.C. (April 29, 2012). "Bulls GM Forman stands by Thibodeau". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
- 76ers Upset Bulls To Advance To Second Round, The Sports Network. May 11, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- "Tom Thibodeau fined $35,000". NBA. May 13, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.
- "2013-14 NBA Coach of the Year Media Voting Results" (PDF). NBA. April 22, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- Fridell, Nick (May 28, 2015). "Tom Thibodeau out in Chicago as Bulls seek 'change in approach'". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- Greenstein, Teddy. , ChicagoTribune.com, May 14, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
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