"Family" isn't a coaching cliché for Gophers women's basketball assistant Carly Thibault-DuDonis. Her father is in the WNBA and her husband is the head coach at Wisconsin-River Falls.
This is a good time to write about good people in sports, so let’s start this with an appreciation of Lindsay Whalen. When she hired Carly Thibault-DuDonis, Whalen brought two bright young coaches north.
Whalen, heading into her third season as the Gophers women’s basketball coach, made Thibault-DuDonis one of her first hires, and recently promoted her to associate head coach.
Thibault-DuDonis left Mississippi State, where she was an assistant coach and an outstanding recruiter, to join Whalen. Mississippi State went to the Final Four in both of her seasons there.
“I got to Mississippi State when it was partially built,” she said. “I wanted to do something similar here, building from the ground up and getting to do it with someone who was like family to me. I’ve known Coach Whay for a long time.”
In this case, “family” isn’t a coaching cliché. Whalen started her WNBA career in Connecticut, playing for Mike Thibault, Carly’s father.
Last year, during the WNBA Finals, Whalen insisted that Carly take time to see Games 4 and 5, where Carly saw her father win his first title, with the Washington Mystics.
Carly also recognized that her husband, Blake DuDonis, had placed his coaching career on hold in Mississippi. Now Blake is the head women’s coach at Wisconsin-River Falls.