College - Notre Dame
Bill Laimbeer, a WNBA Coach of the Year and three-time WNBA Champion, was hired by the New York Liberty as the team's general manager and head coach in October 2012.
Laimbeer previously spent eight seasons from 2002-09 as general manager and head coach of the Detroit Shock (now Tulsa Shock), where he earned WNBA Coach of the Year honors in his first full season as head coach (2003). He took over a team that finished 9-23 in the previous year and led them to a league-best 25 wins the following season. The 16-win improvement was the largest in WNBA history. Laimbeer led the Shock to a 137-93 (.596) overall record, including six-straight playoff appearances as the squad won the WNBA Championship in 2003, 2006 and 2008.
A four-time All-Star center (1983-85, 1987) Laimbeer led the entire NBA in rebounding during the 1985-86 season (13.1 rpg). He totaled 13,790 points and 10,400 rebounds in his career, making him the 19th player in NBA history to reach 10,000 in both categories. Laimbeer grabbed 9,430 rebounds with the Pistons between 1982 and 1993 – nearly 1,400 ahead of No. 2 on the franchise list, Hall of Fame center Bob Lanier.
Laimbeer’s physicality agitated his opponents and even opposing fans. It endeared him to the
Pistons faithful when the “Bad Boys” won back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. In
113 playoff games with Detroit. Laimbeer averaged 12.0 points and 9.7 rebounds. The Pistons went 71-42 (.628) in the playoffs with him at center.
Laimbeer retired 11 games into his 14th NBA season on Dec. 1, 1993 with career averages of 12.9 points and 9.7 rebounds. He wore his Pistons jersey – and ‘the black hat,’ as he called it, of being the NBA’s favorite villain – 1,181 times, including playoffs. For one stretch Laimbeer played in 685 consecutive games, one of the longest streaks in league history. He collected more defensive rebounds than anyone between 1982-1990.
Laimbeer’s No. 40 became one of six jersey numbers retired by the Pistons on Feb. 4, 1995. He was named to the Pistons’ All-Time Team on Apr. 9, 2008.
Laimbeer’s NBA career began with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted him in the third round
(65th overall) in the 1979 draft. He was traded to Detroit in a multiplayer deal prior to the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 16, 1982. He played college ball at Notre Dame, where his top-seeded Fighting Irish lost to the No. 2 seed and eventual NCAA champion Michigan State, starring Magic Johnson and Greg Kelser, in the 1979 Elite Eight. Laimbeer graduated with a degree in economics.