Longtime Mystics coach Mike Thibault retiring to GM role, son Eric Thibault to take over

Head coach Mike Thibault of the Washington Mystics
Mike Thibault will step down as the head coach of the Mystics, and will remain as the team's general manager while his son, Eric, takes over. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Longtime Washington Mystics coach Mike Thibault is stepping down.

Thibault, the winningest coach in WNBA history, announced on Tuesday that he will step down from his post with the team. He will remain in the team’s front office as their general manager.

The Mystics will now replace him with his son and longtime associate head coach Eric Thibault.

“I am proud to have been the head coach of the Washington Mystics the past 10 years," Thibault said in a statement. "After 55 years in coaching (the last 20 in the WNBA), I feel like it is time to turn this team over to Eric and his coaching staff on the court. He is ready and prepared for it.

"I am looking forward to my continued role as GM, working together with the incredible energy that [assistant general manager Maria Giovannetti], Eric and the rest of the staff bring in order to continue our pursuit of another WNBA Championship ... I have been blessed to have worked with so many great players here in D.C. and throughout my career, and I’m excited to still be around the wonderful core group we have returning this coming season."

Thibault has been in the league for two decades, first with the Connecticut Sun — where he led the franchise to back-to-back WNBA Finals in 2004 and 2005. He then jumped to the Mystics in 2013. Thibault, along with veteran Elena Delle Donne, picked up the Mystics’ only league title in 2019 with their win over the Sun in the Finals.

In total, the three-time WNBA Coach of the Year finished with a 379-289 overall record.

Eric Thibault will now lead the Mystics, who are coming off a 22-14 season. He has essentially been the “coach-in-waiting” for some time now, so his promotion shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

“I don't know that it's my choice,” Eric told NBC Sports Washington last month. “Succession plan usually requires the people above you agreeing on everything. So that's great. I mean, [Mike] and ownership have the right to change their mind, but I don't take any of that for granted. I don't feel entitled to anything. If it shakes out that way, that’s great and I'll be ready, and I'll feel proud of that.”