Mark Daigneault Named NBA Coach of the Year

Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault was named the 2023-24 NBA Coach of the Year, it was announced today by the NBA. 

Daigneault is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy after leading the Thunder to a 57-25 record, as Oklahoma City became the youngest team in NBA history to claim the No. 1 seed in either conference. The Thunder were also the youngest team in NBA history to win 55-plus games. 

"Our team's success this season is a testament to the exceptional commitment and competitiveness of our players,” said Daigneault. “They are an uncommon group and coaching them is a privilege. Our coaching staff and every member of our organization has their fingerprints on what we have accomplished. It is humbling to work with them. Finally, I am grateful to Clay Bennett and Sam Presti. Representing the Oklahoma City Thunder is an honor.”

The Thunder claimed the top spot in the Western Conference just two seasons after posting a record of 24-58 during the 2021-22 season. Oklahoma City became the fourth team in NBA history to increase its win total by 16-plus games in back-to-back seasons.

Oklahoma City was one of two teams (Celtics) this past season to finish in the top-five in both offensive rating (118.3) and defensive rating (111.0). 

Now in his 10th season with the Thunder organization, the Leominster, Mass. native was named the fourth head coach in Thunder history on November 11, 2020. Daigneault originally joined the organization in 2014, where he served as head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue for five seasons. 

“We are thrilled for Mark and his coaching staff for the work they have done not just this season but over the last several years,” said Sam Presti, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager. “Mark’s industriousness, curiosity and consistent approach to improving his craft, have defined his tenure with the Blue and now with the Thunder. We are proud of Mark and his coaching staff, they are deserving of this honor.”

During the 2023-24 season, the Thunder became just the 14th team in NBA history to finish top-three in field goal percentage (49.9), 3-point percentage (38.9) and free throw percentage (82.5). Additionally, on the defensive end, Oklahoma City ranked tied for the NBA lead with the most blocked shots (6.56) and steals (8.46).

Earlier this month, Daigneault was named the 2023-24 Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year by the National Basketball Coaches Association, making him the third straight Thunder head coach to earn coach of the year honors (Scott Brooks 2009-10 NBA Coach of the Year and Billy Donovan 2019-20 NBCA Coach of the Year). This marked the first time in NBA history that a team has had three straight head coaches earn coach of the year honors.

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