PHOENIX – The Phoenix Mercury today named Nate Tibbetts the team’s head coach. A widely-respected veteran coach with nearly two decades of experience in the NBA and NBA G League, Tibbetts will join Mercury General Manager Nick U’Ren in bringing championship-level results back to the Mercury.
“Nate is an excellent basketball coach and an even better person,” said U’Ren. “I am excited to work with him as we build an organization that our players, fans and community will be proud of. His knowledge of the game, and commitment to creating a winning culture on and off the floor will be invaluable as we lead the Mercury into our next championship era.”
Named the 12th head coach in Mercury history, Tibbetts brings 18 years of professional coaching experience, including 12 years as an NBA assistant coach with the Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers, and six years in the G League with the Tulsa 66ers and Sioux Falls Skyforce.
“I am incredibly excited to welcome Nate to our Phoenix Mercury family,” said Mat Ishbia, Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns owner. “From bringing the WNBA All-Star game to Phoenix, building a dedicated practice facility for the Mercury, and now to bringing on Nate as our head coach, everything we do, on and off the floor, centers around our fans, elevating Phoenix as the epicenter of basketball, and setting a new standard for investment in women’s sports.”
Tibbetts joins the Mercury from the Orlando Magic where he spent two seasons as an assistant under head coach Jamahl Mosley, and before that spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers (2013-21) under head coach Terry Stotts, including the final two seasons as associate head coach. While with the Trail Blazers, the team advanced to the postseason eight times including a trip to the 2019 Western Conference Finals. Tibbetts began his NBA coaching career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011. Tibbetts also served as Team USA’s head basketball coach at the 2011 Pan American Games, leading the squad to a bronze medal.
“My family and I are thrilled to be a part of the Mercury organization,” said Tibbetts. “The leadership, alignment and commitment from Mat Ishbia, Josh Bartelstein and Nick U’Ren made this an incredible opportunity. I look forward to being a part of the Mercury and building and sustaining a winning organization on and off the court that our community can support and rally around.”
He also spent two seasons as head coach of the NBA Development League’s Tulsa 66ers (2009-11) and four seasons with the Sioux Falls Skyforce (2005-09), including two as head coach. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at the University of Sioux Falls (2001-05).
A native of Jefferson, South Dakota, Tibbetts played collegiate basketball at the University of South Dakota where he won three conference titles and is a member of the USD Sports Hall of Fame (2014) after finishing his career as the program’s all-time leader in assists. He and wife Lyndsey have twin daughters, Londyn and Jordyn. Tibbetts is the son of legendary South Dakota basketball coach, Fred Tibbetts, who coached high school girls and women’s collegiate basketball for more than 30 years, winning an unprecedented 11 high school state championships.