Carly Thibault-Dudonis Named Fairfield Head Coach

Ignatius L Hoops

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A veteran of two Final Fours and one of the nation's top recruiters, Carly Thibault-DuDonis has been named the Head Coach of the Fairfield University Women's Basketball program, as announced on Monday by Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann. Thibault-DuDonis most recently served as the Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at the University of Minnesota. She becomes the third Division I head coach in program history.

"I am absolutely thrilled to introduce Carly Thibault-DuDonis as the Head Coach of Fairfield University Women's Basketball." said Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann. "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 as a student-athlete and as a coach, consistently adding great value and making those around her better. Carly has astutely aligned herself with hall of fame mentors and effectively coalesced their best qualities into the person we hire today. She possesses a relentless work ethic, exudes an impressive basketball acumen, has established herself as an elite recruiter and articulates an authentic desire for the holistic development of young women. At this pivotal moment in our history, we are excited to have Carly at the helm of our Women's Basketball program."

In four seasons at Minnesota alongside newly-minted Naismith Hall of Famer Lindsay Whalen, Thibault-DuDonis brought three nationally-ranked recruiting classes to Williams Arena – including a current incoming class that ranks 10th in the nation – and the first two five-star recruits in program history. On the court, she was integral in the development of All-Big Ten First Teamer and WNBA draft pick Kenisha Bell as well as All-Big Ten Second Team guards Sara Scalia and Destiny Pitts. Thibault-DuDonis was the team's defensive coordinator and assumed the role of Interim Head Coach in 2022 while Whalen was on medical leave
 

MaxyJR1

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Whalen, like Fleck, just keeps getting assistants promoted.
 



ecoperson

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The next assistant hire is crucial. Need stability after this off season.
 



Ignatius L Hoops

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Being down a recruiting coordinator in the middle of a crucial recruiting period is a challenge i assume.
 

gophsfan

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Do something unconventional...hire someone like Brian Cosgriff as your assistant...someone who 's been a head coach for a long time...knows x's and o's...won't want to be the head coach....can help develop culture and someone who's coached the incoming Ms. Basketball MN so she doesn't transfer in a year
 

whalenfan

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Do something unconventional...hire someone like Brian Cosgriff as your assistant...someone who 's been a head coach for a long time...knows x's and o's...won't want to be the head coach....can help develop culture and someone who's coached the incoming Ms. Basketball MN so she doesn't transfer in a year
Is he even coaching anymore? He stepped down from Hopkins a couple years ago so that would be a really unconventional hire.
 



gwbbfan82

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Good for her! I was wondering when she'd get a head coaching job. I wonder if UWRF will now be looking for a head coach as her husband Blake is the coach.
 

Katogopher

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Congratulations to Carly! You knew she would be a HC someday, just wish it wasn’t this off season. I think Fairfield is getting a good coach.
 

Belzx009

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Is he even coaching anymore? He stepped down from Hopkins a couple years ago so that would be a really unconventional hire.
He was on the providence Academy bench at state. I feel like like I could have coach the teams he had at Hopkins. As in they were stacked. Maybe that means he is a good recruiter.
 

MNGirlsHoops

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He was on the providence Academy bench at state. I feel like like I could have coach the teams he had at Hopkins. As in they were stacked. Maybe that means he is a good recruiter.
His recruiter is now Hopkins head coach
 




Gopher68

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Good for her! And, to get a job in the area of your youth is great!
 

Ragnor

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gopherdudepart2

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Do something unconventional...hire someone like Brian Cosgriff as your assistant...someone who 's been a head coach for a long time...knows x's and o's...won't want to be the head coach....can help develop culture and someone who's coached the incoming Ms. Basketball MN. so she doesn't transfer in a yea
If we're going unconventional as replacement, how about Jim Peterson as associate head coach. Was dang good assistant for the Lynx, coached while Whalen was still playing. Peterson is an Alumn so maybe he would be willing to help give back to the U and coach Whalen.
 

Ski U Mah Gopher

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If we're going unconventional as replacement, how about Jim Peterson as associate head coach. Was dang good assistant for the Lynx, coached while Whalen was still playing. Peterson is an Alumn so maybe he would be willing to help give back to the U and coach Whalen.
While JimPete would make a great #2, I don't think he'll give up his awesome gig as color commentator for the Timberwolves.
 

whalenfan

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If we're going unconventional as replacement, how about Jim Peterson as associate head coach. Was dang good assistant for the Lynx, coached while Whalen was still playing. Peterson is an Alumn so maybe he would be willing to help give back to the U and coach Whalen.
less than zero chance he gives up his sweet tv gig for a chance to spend all his free time recruiting 16 year olds.
 

blkroll

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And then you have to wonder whether any of the incoming freshmen had a strong relationship with Carly and would want to leave.
 

ecoperson

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And then you have to wonder whether any of the incoming freshmen had a strong relationship with Carly and would want to leave.
I don't know if that is enough to get out of a binding scholarship.
 

Shades

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less than zero chance he gives up his sweet tv gig for a chance to spend all his free time recruiting 16 year olds.
If he would have been willing to give up that, he would have been the first choice for head coach over Whalen.
 


gopherdudepart2

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less than zero chance he gives up his sweet tv gig for a chance to spend all his free time recruiting 16 year olds.
I know but a guy can dream right? Peterson would really help grow the program and help coach the post. I wish someone with some Neices or Cousins from her WNBA days would come on board with the program.
 


BigTenGuy

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I understand that there is a convention to how announcements of coaching hires are written, but the Fairfield announcement deserves credit for its audacity. I've made some suggested edits for clarity, which can reviewed for accuracy.

In four seasons at Minnesota alongside newly-minted Naismith Hall of Famer Lindsay Whalen, Thibault-DuDonis brought three nationally-ranked recruiting classes to Williams Arena – including a current incoming class that ranks 10th in the nation – and the first two five-star recruits in program history. Unfortunately for Minnesota, the first nine* high school players recruited under her watch would leave Minnesota before completing their eligibility, including Alexia Smith, who Minnesota alone claims as a five-star recruit. Minnesota's other five-star recruit, Kadi Sissoko, transferred to Minnesota after a disappointing first year at Syracuse, but would also leave Minnesota before completing her eligibility. On the court, Thibault-DuDonis was integral in the development of All-Big Ten First Teamer and WNBA draft pick Kenisha Bell as well as All-Big Ten Second Team guards Sara Scalia and Destiny Pitts. Under her coaching, Bell, who was also First Team All Big Ten the season before Thibault-DuDonis arrived, would see declines in her scoring average, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and free throw percentage, while leading a team picked for third in the conference to a 6th-place finish. Scalia and Pitts, who Thibault-DuDonis also helped develop, would both leave Minnesota before completing their eligibility, with Pitts quitting mid-season on the Gophers before transferring. Thibault-DuDonis was the team's defensive coordinator and assumed the role of Interim Head Coach in 2022 while Whalen was on medical leave. In the last three years of her four-year tenure at Minnesota, the Gophers struggled to prevent their opponents from scoring, with national rankings of 310 (2020), 337 (2021) and 291 (2022) in opponents' field goal percentage, and conference-game rankings of 12th (2020), 13th (2021) and 11th (2022). For those three years, Her Hoop Stats gave the Gophers defense the following national ranks: 134 (2020), 303 (2021) and 272 (2022).


*Mercedes Staples, Grace Cumming, Jasmine Powell, Justice Ross, Sara Scalia, Klarke Sconiers, Alexia Smith, Erin Hedman and Caroline Strande.
 

ecoperson

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They don't need to "get out of a binding scholarship," they can just transfer.
I think student athletes that have signed a letter of intent can only get a free transfer out if the HEAD coach leaves, not an assistant as the poster seemed to suggest.
 

2nd Degree Gopher

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I think student athletes that have signed a letter of intent can only get a free transfer out if the HEAD coach leaves, not an assistant as the poster seemed to suggest.
I didn't read that post as anything other than wondering whether the SAs might want to leave if they felt most bonded with the assistant rather than the head coach. You introduced the idea of "getting out" of the scholarship. Regardless, if they want to leave, they can leave without any repercussions.
 




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