Chicago Bulls fire successful coach Tom Thibodeau
Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman announced today that Tom Thibodeau will not be retained as the team’s head coach.
Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said, “The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals. While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Tom Thibodeau is a great coach. He is a better coach than John Paxson is a vice president of basketball operations and Gar Forman is a general manager. That’s not taking anything away from the two front-office people. It’s a recognition that the Bulls are letting go of one of the best pure basketball minds in the NBA. The shame of Thursday’s firing is that it didn’t have to happen, not if clear-thinking, adult-acting adults had been involved. But a clash of personalities and visions made what happened inevitable. Thibodeau does not play well with others. He knows what he knows, and he’ll go to his grave defending it. And what he knows is hard work, followed up by more hard work, followed by an aperitif of hard work. So when Paxson and Forman told him again and again to take his foot off the gas pedal with the players by cutting down on minutes and thus on wear and tear, it was like talking to basketball stanchion.”
Following 21 years in the NBA as an assistant coach (he was an advance scout in 1991-92), Chicago named Thibodeau the team’s head coach on June 23, 2010. During his five seasons at the helm of the Bulls, Thibodeau’s teams compiled an overall record of 255-139 (.647). The Bulls advanced to the playoffs five times during Thibodeau’s tenure, where he posted a postseason record of 23-28 (.451).
“When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed.”