The WNBA announced on Wednesday that Mike Thibault won the WNBA Coach of the Month award for August 2019. The Mystics were 9-2 last month and are now first place in the WNBA standings. Thibault also won the WNBA Coach of the Month award for June 2019.
Congratulations to Coach T for winning the award!
Even though Coach Thibault won two monthly awards, Thibault is still an underdog candidate to win his fifth WNBA Coach of the Year award. That’s because the award tends to go to the head coach of a team that improves the most from year-to-year.
Who is probably winning Coach of the Year?
The presumptive Coach of the Year is Chicago Sky head coach James Wade. The Sky are currently 19-13 and are the fifth-ranked team in the WNBA standings. Last season. they were 13-21 and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Assuming the Sky can win at least one more game this season, they will also get their second 20-win season in franchise history. It also helps them get over losing Delle Donne, who requested a trade from Chicago to be on the Mystics before the 2017 season. That trade definitely set Chicago back, but it’s great to see that they are coming into their own again without resorting to an all-out rebuild.
Last spring, I interviewed Mystics alumna and now-Chicago Sky center Dolson for Swish Appeal. We talked about the NCAA Women’s Final Four, but also about her plans for the 2019 WNBA season. Dolson was the primary trade piece in the deal that brought Delle Donne to Washington.
One of the things she mentioned about the Sky’s troubles of 2017 and 2018 was a lack of trust among teammates. “Last year we all doubted things. I want us all to trust each other,” Dolson said.
Still, she was really excited about the mix of players the Sky had heading into 2019 which range from young stars like Diamond DeShields to their veteran backcourt of Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. Dolson fits in as part of Chicago’s “middle group” along with Copper and Cheyenne Parker. Since then, it’s safe to say that the Sky are playing on the same page more often than not under Wade’s leadership.
Wade is also a familiar face for Mystics forward Emma Meesseman. He is also an assistant coach for UMMC Ekaterinburg.
Tying this back to Thibault, once again, it’s great to see that he is leading Washington to their best regular season in franchise history. Even though he probably won’t win the WNBA Coach of the Year award this season, Thibault will gladly exchange that for the WNBA championship trophy in a few weeks!