Whalen hires Thibault-DuDonis as assistant at Minnesota

Mississippi State assistant coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis calls out a play as the Bulldogs play Louisville in NCAA Final Four national semi final action Friday, March 30, 2018 at the Nationwide Center in Columbus, Ohio. Thibault-DuDonis has just been hired as an assistant to Lindsay Whalen at the University of Minnesota. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Mississippi State assistant coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis calls out a play as the Bulldogs play Louisville in NCAA Final Four national semi final action Friday, March 30, 2018 at the Nationwide Center in Columbus, Ohio. Thibault-DuDonis has just been hired as an assistant to Lindsay Whalen at the University of Minnesota. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Carly Thibault-DuDonis and Lindsay Whalen have been friends since the latter was drafted in 2004 by Thibault-DuDonis’ father, Mike, then the head coach of the Connecticut Sun.

The two will now be work colleagues as Whalen, the newly named head coach of the Minnesota women’s basketball team, hired Thibault-DuDonis as one of her two assistants Monday.

Thibault-DuDonis has been a Mississippi State assistant the previous two seasons and helped it to back-to-back national championship appearances. Whalen was traded to the Minnesota Lynx in 2010 and has been a big reason why they’ve won four WNBA titles. She also paced the Golden Gophers to their first and only Final Four appearance in 2004.

“I've known Carly for a long time and she's had a pretty fast rise as an assistant coach and a recruiting coordinator in helping get Mississippi State to back-to-back national title games and selling out their arena,” Whalen said. “She's been a part of a real success story there, and I think she'll be able to bring that knowledge and passion that she has for the game here. She’s a go-getter and a hard worker.”

“I'm thankful to Lindsay and the University of Minnesota for the opportunity to join her,” said Thibault-DuDonis, a former East Lyme High School standout. “I'm excited about Lindsay's vision for Minnesota women's basketball and to help her get the program back to a place where it's competing for Big Ten championships and Final Four appearances year after year.

“I've known Lindsay since she was drafted into the WNBA in 2004, and I have yet to meet someone as competitive, team-oriented and dedicated as she is. That, coupled with her leadership abilities, are going to make her a great head coach at Minnesota for years to come.”

Thibault-DuDonis worked with Mississippi State’s guards and was its recruiting coordinator. She was an Eastern Michigan assistant for two seasons prior to that, and was also the Director of Recruiting Operations at Florida State for one season.

Thibault-DuDonis played at Monmouth from 2009-13 and finished third in school history with 166 career 3-pointers. She graduated from East Lyme in 2009 and was a two-time Day All-Area pick, helping the Vikings to the 2008 CIAC Class L title game, the program’s only state final appearance.

Whalen also hired Kelly Roysland, who had been the Macalester (St. Paul) head women's basketball coach the last four seasons.

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