Mystics coach Mike Thibault directed his squad to a slump-busting win on Sunday over Tulsa. In the short term, the 84-61 win ended a five-game skid and brought Washington closer to .500 at 5-6. In the big picture, one involving the history of the WNBA, the victory moved Thibault into the rarest of company.
The Mystics' first-year coach picked up career win 211, tying him with Van Chancellor atop the league's all-time coaching win list.
The 62-year-old coach joined Washington in December after 10 years with the Connecticut Sun. In the decade under Thibault, the Sun advanced to the WNBA Finals in 2004 and 2005, the Eastern Conference finals five times and made eight trips to the playoffs. The longest-tenured coach in the WNBA at the time of his dismissal and twice-selected WNBA Coach of the Year, Thibault sports a 211-140 career record.
Thibault's first opportunity to break the record comes Saturday when the Mystics host Seattle.
The Mystics opened the season winning four of five including a victory over Indiana on June 16, pulling Thibault within one victory of tying Chancellor, who won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets. It took two weeks for the next one, which historically and in the moment, was a big one.
CSNwashington spoke with Thibault about entering Chancellor's air space after the win over Indiana. "I'm planning on coaching a lot more years so we're hoping its not a significant thing at this point," Thibault said. "But it's nice to have my name in the conversation because he was a heck of a coach. I'd like to win the four championships that he won.