The Mike Thibault era is almost officially over.
Washington Mystics Associate Head Coach Eric Thibault will take his dad’s place as head coach after spending a full decade on the Mystics bench, including four as the team’s lead assistant, according to a Tuesday afternoon report from ESPN.
“I’m really excited,” Eric Thibault said Tuesday. “My life is here.
“I have spent 10 years here. I’ve grown up here in a way. I feel really honored to be able to lead this team now to hopefully where we want to go.”
Unlike the Mystics’ move to replace then-head coach and general manager Trudi Lacey one decade prior, this transition will come with a catch.
For the time being, Mike Thibault will stay in the Mystics front office as the team’s GM, deviating from the GM/head coach combination role brought on by Trudi Lacey’s hiring in 2010. Several other executives were issued the same role in the WNBA, including the Chicago Sky’s James Wade in 2018, Becky Hammon of the Las Vegas Aces in 2021 and Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Sparks before he was released in early June.
Eric Thibault will have a wealth of talent to work with in his first season as head coach, including a 2015 MVP in forward Elena
Delle Donne, a two-time WNBA Champion in forward Alysha Clark and a two-time All-Defensive Second Team member in guard Ariel Atkins. The Mystics will also hold the No. 4 pick in the 2023 WNBA draft with the chance to pick Tennessee forward Rickea Jackson as an option to boost their wing depth.
“It’s very rare for a coach to come in their first year to have a chance to win the championship,” Eric Thibault said. “We have a team that, if we make the right moves this offseason, do the things we’re supposed to and develop as a group, we’ll be a contender.”