Knicks' Tom Thibodeau receives endorsement from Patriots' Bill Belichick

Garrett Stepien
·2 min read
Tom Thibodeau looks on during Timberwolves game against Lakers
Tom Thibodeau looks on during Timberwolves game against Lakers

As Tom Thibodeau rebuilds the Knicks, one legendary sports coach offered an interesting perspective.

In a statement to the New York Post's Marc Berman, longtime New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick opened up on his relationship with Thibodeau.

"We both have a strong background in defense," he said. "But other than that, you would have to ask him for specifics. I love the way Tom coaches. He is poised and does a great job with adjustments and quick decisions."

From his days growing up in New Britain, Conn., to a stint while the Boston Celtics' associate head coach (2007-10) under Doc Rivers (2004-13), Thibodeau's Patriots fandom overlapped as he climbed a coaching ladder to Chicago Bulls (2010-15) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2016-19) head coach.

"I grew up in Connecticut, so obviously I'm a Patriots fan," Thibodeau said Jan. 30, 2018, to ESPN's Nick Friedell. "When I was in Boston, I had an opportunity to watch them very closely. I had the good fortune of going down (for) a day and watching practice and getting a chance to visit with (Belichick).

"His record speaks for itself. He's one of the all-time greats, if not the greatest. What he's done is simply amazing, and as a New Englander I don't take that for granted. I appreciate every moment."

Belichick, 68, is a six-time Super Bowl champion and three-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year. Into his 21st year as head coach of the Patriots, he sports a 275-131 record.

Thibodeau, 62, started his coaching career in New England by way of Salem State (1981-84 assistant, 1984-85 head coach) and Harvard (1985-89 assistant) before a 1989 NBA jump to the Timberwolves' staff. A 2011 NBA Coach of the Year, Thibodeau is 598-352 overall with seven playoff appearances.