SACRAMENTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Mike Thibault head coach for the Connecticut Sun has a word with official June Courteau during the first half against the Sacramento Monarchs during Game 3 of the WNBA finals on September 18, 2005 at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California. The Monarchs went on to win 66-55 and take a 2-1 game lead in the best of 5 game series in the WNBA final. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
The Connecticut Sun has fired coach Mike Thibault, who led the team to eight playoff appearances, but no WNBA championships in his 10 seasons.
Thibault has been the Sun's only head coach. He was hired when the team relocated from Orlando before the 2003 season.
“The decision to let Mike go was difficult based on our friendship and working relationship,” Connecticut Sun Vice President and General Manager Chris Sienko said in a statement. “Mike has had much success here in Connecticut over the past ten seasons. However, we felt it was time for a new voice and new direction for our players and our fans as we continue to try to capture that first, elusive title. We wish Mike and his family nothing but success and know our paths will cross again in the future.”
He led the Sun to WNBA Finals in 2004 and 2005 and five Eastern Conference Finals.
The Sun finished the 2012 season as the top seed in the East with a 25-9 record before losing to eventual WBNA champion Indiana in three games in the conference finals.
Sun assistant coaches Scott Hawk and Bernadette Mattox also were let go on Tuesday.
“After much thought and consideration we have decided to make a coaching change with the hopes that this will allow us to achieve our ultimate goal of bringing a WNBA championship to Connecticut,” team CEO Mitchell Etess said in a statement. “We have the ultimate respect and appreciation for everything coach Thibault has done here, and he has played a huge part in establishing the Connecticut Sun as the model franchise in the league. However, our ultimate goal is the championship, and this change is made in with an eye to accomplishing just that.”
The Sun will begin formerly interviewing candidates immediately, but there is no set timetable to name Thibault's replacement.