THIBAULT RESIGNS AS COACH
After Five Years, Willie Thibault Has Left His Position As Head Girls' Basketball Coach At Glasgow High School
J. LEVI BURNFIN, COURIER SPORTS
Published: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
Willie Thibault just completed his fifth season as head coach and has racked up 69 wins over the five year period while competing in the Divisional Tournament in every season. But the impact he has had on Glasgow is larger than the wins and losses.
"He has been with us since day one," said Jami Johnson, one of four seniors on this year's Scottie girl's team.
Johnson, and her senior teammate Kelsey Borgen, spoke of Thibault as if he was family. And maybe they have become a basketball family considering all the time and hours they have spent practicing and playing the game they love.
They would spend hours on team buses traveling to tournaments and away games and it was some of Thibault's fondest memories of the team. There were no distractions, just one big happy family laughing and joking together.
"Coaching girl's basketball . . . has been like winning the lottery," said Thibault. "I got to work around kids that are anxious to learn, their very coachable and they work hard."
Thibault spoke of this year's team and in particular the four seniors this year, Johnson, Borgen, Alex Page and Tyana Rasmusan, with such joy when reminiscing about the team and such sadness when speaking about leaving the team that his eyes became blood shot as he held back a few tears.
"If I wait to leave until we run out of kids I enjoy being around, I'll probably die before I leave," said Thibault. "I've been real fortunate to work with good kids."
Ironically, it was the bus rides that he enjoyed so much that also has led him to decide that this was the time to leave. The trips were getting longer it seemed.
The time commitment and road trips were taking it's toll on Thibault and the girls deserve a head coach that is able to give their full focus to the team. And according to Thibault, he no longer believes he is able to give that type of commitment.
So after making the decision, he knew had to tell the girls that had sacrificed and worked so hard for him first. He gathered up the team and told them even before he told the school board. He felt they deserved at least that.
But it still came as a shock for many of the girls.
"We were all surprised," said Borgen. "The entire team was sort of shocked."
Even though there were rumors of Thibault's impending resignation, the girls couldn't believe it until it came from Thibault himself because of what he has meant to the girls and the program.
Johnson and Borgen agreed that without Thibault, the team would not have accomplished as much as they have over the last five years. And they also agree that he has helped each individual girl improve their game. Such as Johnson's dribbling and Borgen's defense.
In fact, they had improved so much that Johnson was one of the primary ball-handlers for the Scottie girls and Borgen was always the defender placed on the opposing team's best player this year.
The team has grown so close under the leadership of Thibault that a sense of never wanting to let each other down has been developed over the years. Borgen and Johnson were disappointed in themselves that they were never able to help get Thibault to the state tournament and, similarly, Thibault was disappointed in himself that he wasn't able to get the girls to the state tournament.
"Had we advanced to state tournament, we had a chance of getting a trophy," said Thibault.
But Thibault also feels good about the shape of the program.
"We've got good kids coming up . . . through the ranks from grade school and junior high . . . and good kids returning," said Thibault. "I would love to see them go to a state tournament."
Even if Thibault is not the coach that finally takes them to the state tournament, he wants the girls to feel the excitement and pride of accomplishing the feat.
Seven of 11 girls return from the tournament team and there is a foundation set by Thibault and current and former players that the next coach can build upon.
Thibault has coached for several decades in several different sports including football and basketball. He expressed his desire to still be a part of the game and to help in any capacity he can but now he will focus his full attention on being an educator.
He prides himself on being able to teach young girls and boys in many capacities.
"I'm still around, I'm not going anywhere," said Thibault.
His door will always be open to positively affect kid's lives much as he has done the past five years as the coach for the Scottie girls.
"One glaring disappointment is we never made it to a state tournament"
"Good kids coming up through the ranks from grade school and junior high"
"I never believed in getting out when the cupboards bare and the cupboards not bare, it's well stocked"
"We've got good kids coming and good kids returning"
"I would love to see them go to a state tournament"
"I'm still around, I'm not going anywhere"
"I feel good about this"
"I feel good about the shape the program is in, they are going to be competitive again"
(Return 7 of 11 off tournament team, have very good kids coming in)
"There is still plenty of talent here"
"The trips were getting long"
"They want to support everyone at everything"
"Time commitment and bus rides"
Winter is the busiest time for his position as the Activities Director
"Glasgow is a good community, very passionate about the activities"
"I'm going to miss a lot about it"
AC: Steve Johnson, Carlene Fossum
*Eyes became blood shot speaking of this team and having to leave them after this much time.*
Vast background of coaching:
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