Eric Thibault, Head Coach
Eric Thibault was named the 14th head coach in Washington Mystics franchise history on Nov. 15, 2022. Thibault enters his first year as head coach after spending the last 10 seasons as a Mystics assistant coach, the last four as associate head coach. During his tenure as associate head coach, Thibault has also acted as interim head coach for five games in the absence of head coach Mike Thibault.
Thibault helped lead the team to eight postseason appearances, including Washington’s back-to-back trips to the WNBA Finals in 2018 and 2019, and the first WNBA Championship in franchise history in 2019.
As part of his responsibilities the past 10 years, Thibault has been involved in every aspect of the Mystics’ basketball operations, including player development, practice planning, game strategy, opponent and draft scouting, player recruitment, and roster management. For player development, Thibault has primarily directed the team’s perimeter players – including Natasha Cloud, who was named to the All-Defensive First Team in 2022 and led the WNBA in assists (7.0 apg), and Ariel Atkins a 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist, two-time WNBA All-Star, and five-time All-Defensive Team player.
Prior to joining the Mystics’ coaching staff, Thibault had stints as a staff assistant with the Connecticut Sun and as an assistant coach for Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He is a 2010 graduate of the University of Missouri, where he served as a practice player and a graduate assistant coach for the women’s basketball program. He followed that as a graduate assistant for St. John’s University under head coach Kim Barnes Arico, where the Red Storm advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 2012.
LaToya Sanders, Associate Head Coach
LaToya Sanders enters her third year as an assistant coach for the Washington Mystics and her first as associate head coach. As a member of the Mystics’ coaching staff, Sanders is responsible for working with and helping develop the team’s post players, including Shakira Austin, who was named to the 2022 WNBA All-Rookie Team. Sanders also plays a crucial role in scouting and building practice plans.
Prior to joining the coaching staff, Sanders played professionally for seven years with the Phoenix Mercury, Minnesota Lynx, Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics. In four seasons with Washington (2015-2019), Sanders averaged 7.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. A member of the 2019 Mystics Championship team, she averaged 6.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during the team’s championship season and started every regular season and playoff game.
Sanders set numerous milestones with Washington, including recording 48 blocks during the 2015 season, second in franchise history for the most blocks in a single season, and shot .607 from the field during the 2018 season, the highest percentage in franchise history.
An alum of the University of North Carolina, Sanders was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury. At UNC, Sanders won ACC Tournament titles from 2005-08 and led the Tar Heels to the NCAA Final Four in both 2006 and 2007. In her senior season, she was named the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. She also holds the Tar Heel’s all-time career field goal percentage record (.579) and ranks first in total blocked shots (336).
Sanders was a member of the Turkish National Team and won an Olympic medal in 2016. Washington originally acquired Sanders prior to the 2012 season.
Mike Thibault, General Manager
Mike Thibault was named the head coach/general manager of the Washington Mystics on December 18, 2012, leading Washington to the organization’s first WNBA championship in 2019.
The 2019 Mystics displayed one of the greatest offenses in WNBA history, posting the WNBA’s highest offensive rating ever at 112.9. The Mystics made their second consecutive WNBA Finals appearance (2018-2019), their best two-year stretch in franchise history, with the team going 48-20 during that span, and a franchise-best 26-8 record during the 2019 season.
During an unprecedented 2020 WNBA season, Thibault led the shorthanded Mystics to their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Under Thibault’s guidance, young players Ariel Atkins and Myisha Hines-Allen had career-seasons, both posting career-highs in points, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, rebounds, and assists.
In 2022, the team returned to the playoffs. Since 2018, the Mystics have been one of four teams to have had three 20+ win seasons. The team’s defense was impressive, as Washington finished with a league-best defensive rating of 96.0.
The winningest coach in WNBA history (379-289), Thibault led his teams to a total 16 playoff appearances, the most by a coach in WNBA history. Thibault has coached 10 Olympians and 17 All-Stars, two MVPs (Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne) and one Final’s MVP (Emma Meesseman). He has represented the Eastern Conference as the head coach in three All-Star games (2005, 2006, 2019) and to four WNBA Finals (2004, 2005, 2018, 2019). Heading into the 2023 season Mike Thibault announced that he will retire from coaching the Washington Mystics. Thibault will continue as general manager and lead decision-maker pertaining to the team’s basketball operations.
Mike and his wife Nanci have been staunch supporters of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation since Mike’s days with the Omaha Racers. In 2007, the Thibaults were co-chairs of GREAT STRIDES, the primary fundraiser of the CF Foundation’s Connecticut Chapter. The Thibaults have carried their support of the local community where they live and play by do-nating tickets to every Washington Mystics game to community organizations. Mike and Nanci have two children. Eric is Head Coach with the Mystics while Carly is the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Fairfield University.
Maria Giovannetti, Assistant General & Senior Vice President of Strategy and Vision
Maria Giovannetti returns for her 12th season with the Mystics. Giovannetti has served as the team’s assistant general manager for the last five seasons and recently added senior vice president of strategy and vision to her responsibilities.
Giovannetti has held numerous roles with the Mystics throughout her tenure including Director of Basketball Operations where she led team operations including management of player contracts, budget oversight, team logistics and culture development. As Assistant General Manager, she has advanced player development, scouting and the facilitation of player support functions.Giovannetti has been instrumental in assisting General Manager Mike Thibault in building the team that has made eight post-season appearances, including Washing-ton’s back-to-back trips to the WNBA Finals in 2018 and 2019, and the first title in franchise history in 2019.
Prior to joining the basketball operations department, Giovannetti served as the Director of Youth Basketball for the Wizards and Mystics where she launched the Wizards and Mystics Youth Basketball program, driving revenue-generating initiatives involving the youth basketball community.
Maria graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University where she was a four-year varsity basketball player, two-year team captain and the Colonial Athletic Association’s Scholar Athlete of the Year. Maria continued her studies at the George Washington University where she received her Master’s in Tourism Administration with a focus in Sport Management.
Maria and her wife, Veronica, reside in Alexandria with their two children.
Sefu Bernard, Director Player Development
Ami Bracey, Director of Equipment
Dr. Kala Flagg, Head of Athlete Rehabilitation
Dr. Christina Kennedy, Head Athletic Trainer
Ashlee McGee, Assistant Coach
Shelley Patterson, Assistant Coach
Stu Singer, Mental Performance Coach
Emma Skinker, Manager of Basketball Operations
Andrew Wade, Head Video Coordinator and Player Development Assistant
Sarah Walls, Director of Performance
Caleb West, Assistant Video Coordinator
Morgan Bartner – Basketball Operations Coordinator and Team Logistics