Carly Thibault-DuDonis was hired as a Gophers women’s basketball assistant coach, giving new coach Lindsay Whalen an assistant who coached in the past two NCAA championship games for Mississippi State.
The Gophers announced the hiring of Thibault-DuDonis and Kelly Roysland on Monday, the first two assistants on Whalen’s staff. Roysland, Whalen’s former Gophers teammate, spent the past four seasons as the coach at Division III Macalester and was a Gophers assistant from 2010 to 2014.
“Being a first-time head coach I needed people that are familiar with this territory and know what it’s all about right off the bat,” Whalen said. “Kelly has been a head coach, and Carly has been a recruiting coordinator, so I felt like we needed people in here as soon as possible with those backgrounds to help get things going.”
Thibault-DuDonis’ father is Mike Thibault, the coach of the Washington Mystics. Thibault was coach of the Connecticut Sun when that WNBA team drafted Whalen in 2004.
Thibault-DuDonis spent the past two seasons on the Mississippi State coaching staff. The Bulldogs finished national runner-up both of her seasons in Starkville, losing in the championship game to South Carolina in 2017 and to Notre Dame this year.
Before joining the Bulldogs, Thibault-DuDonis spent two seasons as an assistant at Eastern Michigan and was director of recruiting operations at Florida State in 2014-15. The native of East Lyme, Conn., played for Monmouth (N.J.) from 2009-13.
“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.”
Roysland, who served as Gophers captain as a senior in 2006-07, also comes from a coaching background. Her father, Mike, is the women’s basketball coach at Minnesota Crookston.
“Kelly is one of the most hardworking, loyal and trustworthy people that I’ve ever met, both as a teammate and in my interactions with her over the last several years,” Whalen said. “She’s really impressed me with those qualities and exemplifies them every day.”