Because the Oklahoma City Thunder finally took the plunge Wednesday morning, for the first time in a long time, all 30 NBA teams now have a head coach.
The Thunder’s new man is Mark Daigneault, a hire from within, who had been a part of the the organization going back six years.
“We are thrilled to have Mark assume the role of head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” club general manager Sam Presti said, via a release issued by the team Wednesday morning. “He has been a selfless and effective leader within our organization since his arrival in 2014.”
It was that year Daigneault became head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s affiliate in the developmental G-League.
“Mark is a values-based leader, continuous learner, and someone that will help us continue the repositioning of our organization on and off the court,” Presti said. “The amount of head coaching experience and diverse experiences through his tenure with the Blue is rare for someone his age.
"He has also shown the ability to empower both the players and staff he works with.”
As head coach of the Blue for five seasons, Daigneault put together a 143-107 record and a .572 winning percentage, winning three division titles and going to the playoffs four times. After winning a Blue-record 34 games during the 2018-19 season, Daigneault moved into an assistant’s role on then-OKC coach Billy Donovan’s staff.
While coaching the Blue, eight of Daigneault’s players were called up to NBA rosters and four signed two-way contracts.
“The opportunity to be the head coach of the Thunder is truly a special honor,” Daigneault said. “Over my six years in Oklahoma City I’ve developed a deep commitment to the organization and a care for what is truly a special community that I call home.”
Prior to joining the Thunder organization as coach of the Blue, Daigneault was a part of Donovan’s staff at the University of Florida. Prior to becoming a Gator, he spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Holy Cross.
“It has been tremendous to see Mark's growth as a coach and leader in this organization,” Thunder Chairman Clayton Bennett said. “He’s made Oklahoma City his home and is a proud member of the Thunder and the community. We are extremely confident that he is going to do a wonderful job for the team on and off the court.”
Daigneault’s path to the position he was named to Wednesday did not begin as a professional or collegiate player, but as a student manager for five season, beginning in 2003, with coach Jim Calhoun’s Connecticut men's program.
A 2007 UConn grad, Daigneault also obtained a master’s degree in sports management from Florida.