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Tom Thibodeau

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Title: Tom Thibodeau  
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Subject: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, New Britain, Connecticut, List of people from Connecticut, NBA Coach of the Year Award, Luol Deng, Doc Rivers, Flop (basketball), Keith Bogans, Lawrence Frank
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Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau (born January 17, 1958) is an American basketball coach who is currently the head coach of the Chicago Bulls.

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,[1] and has helped his team finish in the league's Top 10 in team defense 15 times.[2] 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 while serving as an assistant 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. [3]


Thibodeau played basketball at Salem State University 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.


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.

Boston Celtics

On August 30, 2007, Thibodeau was named associate head coach of the Boston Celtics,[4][5][6] who hoped to bolster their defense with his hiring.[7] Eventually, he helped the Celtics become the best defensive team in the league with his expertise.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10][11] However, he wasn't hired as the head coach of either franchise.

Thibodeau led the Celtics to the best rating in several defensive categories in 2007–08,[2] and was a key factor in containing Kobe Bryant during the 2008 Finals.[12]

Chicago Bulls

On June 2, 2010, the eve of the 2010 Finals, Thibodeau interviewed with officials from the Chicago Bulls for their vacant head coach position.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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. [16]

In Game 1 of the Bulls' first-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, point guard Derrick Rose tore his ACL.[17] 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.[18] 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." [19]

Thibodeau finished second to Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs as the 2012 NBA Coach of the Year.

On May 13, 2013, Thibodeau received a $35,000 fine for criticizing the referees during the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat.[20]

Coaching record

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 %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
CHI 2010–11 82 62 20 .756 1st in Central 16 9 7 .563 Lost in Conf. Finals
CHI 2011–12 66 50 16 .758 1st in Central 6 2 4 .333 Lost in First Round
CHI 2012–13 82 45 37 .549 2nd in Central 12 5 7 .417 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
230 157 73 .683 34 16 18 .471


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.[21]


External links

  • NBA profile

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