After departing Chicago, Thibodeau took a year off to reflect, recharge and learn before looking for another head coaching job.
“Last year was a great year. I visited some (NBA) teams in September and October and then went back the last month of the season. I believe I visited 13 teams,” he said. “When you don’t have your own team and you’re not worried about who you are playing next, you have a much broader view on everything. It was a great year and I took a lot from it.”
Along with visiting other basketball teams, Thibodeau branched out to two successful coaches in other sports: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
“You’re talking about two all-time greats in the history of their respective sports and to get the opportunity I had to spend some time with them was invaluable to me," Thibodeau said. "What you find out is the winning characteristics are always the same in every sport. When you start to learn about leadership and what teaching is all about, you can learn a lot from those guys.”