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Sun coach Mike Thibault earned a second-place finish in the East, despite four rookies getting major playing time.
Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images
-- Thibault Wins Second Coach of the Year Award in Three Years --
NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2008 - Connecticut Sun Head Coach Mike Thibault is the recipient of the 2008 WNBA Coach of the Year award presented by AOL.com, the WNBA announced today. Thibault received 24 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. San Antonio Silver Stars Head Coach Dan Hughes finished second with nine votes while Seattle's Brian Agler placed third with five votes.
Thibault becomes the third WNBA coach to be named Coach of the Year multiple times, after previously winning in 2006. Hughes, who won the 2007 award, was the second to accomplish the feat having previously earned the honor in 2001 when he coached the Cleveland Rockers. Former Houston Comets Head Coach Van Chancellor was the recipient of the award each year from 1997-1999.
After an overhaul of the Sun's roster in the offseason, Thibault opened the season with the third-youngest team in the league and a roster devoid of three of the top five scorers from the previous year. He steered the Sun to a three-game improvement over 2007, finishing with a record of 21-13 and earning the No. 2 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Despite carrying six rookies on the roster, the Sun jumped out to one of its hottest starts in franchise history, winning nine of the first 11 games.
Under Thibault, the Sun ranked third in the league in scoring, fifth in defense and tied for first in point differential. Connecticut was the first team to earn a 2008 postseason berth, which sealed their sixth-consecutive playoff appearance, all with Thibault at the helm. Throughout the year, Thibault slotted two rookies into the starting lineup in 25 games and even started three rookies once.
After taking over the Sun upon the franchise's relocation to Connecticut in 2003, Thibault has guided them to six consecutive finishes above .500, including their first season with a winning record. In 2005 and 2006, Thibault's Sun finished with 26 wins, more than any other Eastern Conference team in league history. In 2007, he became the third-fastest coach in WNBA history to win 100 regular season games. Over the course of his career, he holds a .623 winning percentage, fourth best all-time. In addition to his WNBA coaching duties, he was an assistant to Head Coach Anne Donovan on the gold-medal winning 2008 U.S. Women's Basketball Olympic Team in Beijing.
Below are the voting results for 2008 WNBA Coach of the Year Award presented
by AOL.com and click here for a
list of past recipients:
|2008 COACH OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY AOL.COM RESULTS|
|24||Mike Thibault||Connecticut Sun|
|9||Dan Hughes||San Antonio Silver Stars|
|5||Brian Agler||Seattle Storm|
|3||Jenny Boucek||Sacramento Monarchs|
|2||Patty Coyle||New York Liberty|
|2||Bill Laimbeer||Detroit Shock|
About the WNBA
Comprised of 14 teams, the WNBA is the most successful women's professional team sports league in the world. The WNBA concluded its 12th regular season with increases in key metrics including attendance, ratings and web traffic. The 2008 WNBA Playoffs presented by adidas began Thursday, Sept. 18 when both the Eastern and Western Conference Semifinals tipped off with games airing on ESPN2 and NBA TV.
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