Tuesday, March 21

Carly Thibault-DuDonis named Fairfield University women’s basketball coach – Hartford Courant

A veteran of two Final Fours and one of the nation’s top recruiters, Carly Thibault-DuDonis was named the Fairfield University women’s basketball coach Monday.

Thibault-DuDonis most recently served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Minnesota. In four seasons at Minnesota alongside head coach Lindsay Whalen, Thibault-DuDonis helped bring in three nationally-ranked recruiting classes — including a current incoming class that ranks 10th in the nation — and the first two five-star recruits in program history. Thibault-DuDonis was the team’s defensive coordinator and assumed the role of interim head coach in 2022 while Whalen was on medical leave.

“I am absolutely thrilled to introduce Carly Thibault-DuDonis as the head coach of Fairfield University women’s basketball,” athletic director Paul Schlickmann said. “In what was a comprehensive search process, it became abundantly clear that Carly embodies who we are and who we aspire to be; as a University, as an Athletics department, and as a championship caliber women’s basketball program. She has achieved exceptional results at every step of her journey from ella as a student-athlete and as a coach, consistently adding great value and making those around her better. ”

Before Minnesota, Thibault-DuDonis was on Vic Schaefer’s coaching staff at Mississippi State, where the Bulldogs made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament championship game in 2017 and 2018. She was the recruiting coordinator that secured the top two classes in MSU history.

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A standout at East Lyme High School in Connecticut, Thibault-DuDonis played collegiately at Monmouth University. She earned All-Northeast Conference Third Team honors and was named the NEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year as a senior and helped the Hawks to a WNIT berth in her sophomore season. Her father of her Mike Thibault is the head coach of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, a three-time WNBA Coach of the Year who previously coached the Connecticut Sun.

“She really liked it at Minnesota,” Mike Thibault said, after the Mystics completed the WNBA draft Monday night.“She and [head coach] Lindsay Whelan are very close. They were good for each other, and she was sad to leave a great recruiting class coming in. But to get the opportunity at age 30 to be a head coach at the Division I level with a good program at a great university in an area she knows, you couldn’t ask for a lot better for a first head coaching job.”

“Carly’s worked for some terrific programs and different coaches, so she has seen things done different ways, so she is well prepared, not just for the X’s and O’s – sometimes that almost becomes the easy part. It’s the psychology of teaching young women not only how to play the game but to be adults, trying to find their way through college and their life. I think she excels in that area. Here is somebody who is very mature at a young age, she’s driven, as a player she wasn’t going to leave anything undone and that’s how she has approached coaching. She’s ready for that now.”

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Thibault-DuDonis takes over a Fairfield team coming off its first MAAC championship since 1998 and its first NCAA postseason appearance since 2001 in the 15th and final year under coach Joe Frager.


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