The New York Knicks announced today that Tom Thibodeau has been named the 31st head coach in franchise history.
“Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached,” said Leon Rose, president, New York Knicks. “He will bring leadership, accountability and a hard-working mentality to our organization. We are excited to bring him back to New York and look forward to collaborating with him and his staff toward a successful future.”
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to this historic franchise as head coach and work alongside a talented front office that I have great trust in and respect for,” said Thibodeau. “I know what New York is like when the Knicks are successful and there is nothing comparable. I look forward to being a part of what we are building here and can’t wait to get to work.”
According to New York Newsday, “the Knicks interviewed other former head coaches: Kenny Atkinson, Mike Woodson, Mike Brown, Jason Kidd and Mike Miller, who finished up the season as the Knicks’ interim coach. The Knicks also conducted interviews with five assistant coaches – San Antonio’s Will Hardy, Orlando’s Pat Delany, Chicago’s Chris Fleming, Philadelphia’s Ime Udoka and Dallas’ Jamahl Mosley.”
Thibodeau, 62, holds a career coaching record of 352-246 (.589) over eight seasons with Chicago and Minnesota. His .589 career winning percentage is 11th best in NBA history among coaches who have coached at least 500 games. He was named the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2010-11 season and coached the Eastern Conference in the 2012 NBA All Star game in Orlando, FL.
He most recently served as head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, leading the franchise to a 97-107 (.475) regular-season record over three seasons (2016-19). Ending a 13-year playoff drought in 2018, Minnesota won 47 games during that season, which was the team’s largest win total since the 2003-04 season.
Thibodeau’s first stint as a head coach was with the Chicago Bulls where he spent five seasons (2010-15) guiding the team to a 255-139 (.647) record. He led the Bulls to the best record in the NBA in back-to-back seasons (2010-11 and 2011-12), and to five consecutive trips to the postseason, including the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010-11. The 2010-11 team won 62 games, which were the most by a Bulls team since their championship season of 1997-98 and was one of three 50-plus win seasons under his tutelage. During his time with the Bulls, Thibodeau set a franchise record with an 86 consecutive-game streak without losing more than two games in a row and led the NBA in close-game winning percentage at .626 (66-40).
In his eight seasons as an NBA head coach, Thibodeau’s teams ranked in the Top-10 in opponents points per game, five times, twice leading the NBA. His defenses ranked in the Top-10 in defensive rating, four times, twice leading the league, while his teams ranked in the Top-10 in offensive rating, three times, including twice in the Top-5.
Prior to becoming a head coach in the NBA, the New Britain, CT-native was an assistant coach in Minnesota (1989-91), San Antonio (1992-94), Philadelphia (1994-96), New York (1996-03), Houston (2003-07) and Boston (2007-10). In his 28 seasons as an NBA coach, his teams have advanced to the postseason 19 times, including three trips to the NBA Finals (1999, 2008, 2010) and an NBA championship with Boston in 2008.
He began his coaching career with his alma mater, Salem State, as an assistant coach for three seasons (1981-84) before he was promoted, serving as head coach for one season (1984-85). After his time at Salem State, Thibodeau was an assistant coach at Harvard University for four seasons (1985-89). He played four seasons at Salem State (1977-81) and helped lead the Vikings to consecutive Division III national tournaments (1980–81). In 1980, he led Salem State to the league championship and the school’s first NCAA Tournament bid.