Thibodeau and the Gauchos are coming off of one of the finest seasons in school history. Playing without a senior on the roster, UCSB won the 2016 Big West Tournament, advancing to the program's first NCAA Tournament since 1996. In the tournament, the Gauchos defeated Kansas, the NCAA win in school history, before falling at Cal and finishing with a 19-8 overall record, the best mark in 20 years.
In addition to the team success, Santa Barbara sent the doubles team of Palina Dubavets and Stefani Stojic to the NCAA Tournament where they easily won a first round match before falling to the No. 1 seeded tandem of Hayley Carter and Whitney Kay of North Carolina, 6-4, 4-6, 10-7.
Thibodeau's Gauchos have gone 58-42 during his first four seasons, but that includes a 35-17 mark ovefr the last two seasons.
Thibodeau was named the women’s tennis head coach at UCSB on June 12, 2012. He came to the Gauchos after heading the women’s tennis program at Fresno State for nine years where he accumulated six Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year awards.
At Fresno, Thibodeau's teams collected seven WAC titles and made five appearances in the Sweet 16. He coached nine All-Americans and had seven players compete in the NCAA individual tournament. His team had the highest year-end ranking in program history and he compiled a winninger percentage of .750.
Thibodeau helped the Bulldogs accumulate a record of 159-80. His teams finished five seasons ranked among the nation’s top-20, including an all-time high of 13th in 2004. In 2009, Fresno State won a school record 24 matches and finished the season ranked 16th in the nation. In all, Thibodeau’s teams won 20 or more dual matches on five occasions.
He also brought individual attention to his players in his nine seasons at Fresno State. Melanie Gloria gained four consecutive WAC Player of the Year awards and a career high Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) ranking of No. 2 in the nation. Overall, his teams produced seven WAC Players of the Year, one ITA National Rookie of the Year, five WAC Freshmen of the Year and nine All-Americans. Nationally, his players have regularly finished ranked in the nation’s top-100 and as high as No. 4 in singles and No. 1 in doubles.
Thibodeau has coached numerous players into the NCAA Individual Championships and in 2004 one of his players, Jelena Pandzic, reached the title match. In 2005, the Bulldogs’ tandem of Lucia Sainz and Katarina Winterhalter reached the championship match in the All-American doubles competition and in 2006 they reached the NCAA doubles final. In 2006, Melanie Gloria appeared in the All-American singles championship as well as the Indoor Semifinals. Gloria paired with Tinesta Rowe reaching the NCAA doubles championship in 2008. That same year, Anastasia Petukhova and Renata Kucerkova reached the NCAA doubles semifinals, the All-American final, and won the ITA Indoor doubles championship. In 2009 the doubles duo ended the season ranked No. 1 in the ITA doubles rankings and Petukhova won the All-American singles consolation.
Thibodeau’s Fresno State teams not only excelled on the court, but in the classroom as well. The Bulldogs earned ITA All-Academic Team honors five times, achieving a collective grade point average over 3.20. In 2009, the team achieved a cumulative 3.60 GPA, had five players named to the Academic All-WAC team and one to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District and All-American teams.
Before becoming a bulldog, Thibodeau was the assistant coach for the University of Arizona women’s team for three years, helping to steer the Wildcats into the ITA top-25.
Thibodeau, originally from Repentigny, Quebec, graduated from the University of Sherbrooke in 1997, where he received his bachelor’s in specialized sports science. There he worked under the Canadian Tennis Federation as a national coach for Canadian junior players, where he traveled around the world gaining an abundance of knowledge on the junior circuit. He supervised national training camps, coached members of the national junior team and assisted with the Canadian Federation Cup team.
In his first full season here at UC Santa Barbara, Thibodeau helped steer an impressive 15-9 record. The squad performed well in conference play, posting a 5-4 record in Big West conference action. Guiding the team to the Big West tournament, Thibodeau and his squad fell just short with a semifinal loss to eventual champion, Long Beach St. Making his mark in the conference, Thibodeau had players Kiersten Meehan and April Scatliffe honored with season awards from the Big West.
Fulfilling his second season as head coach for Santa Barbara, Thibodeau and his young team fought for an 8-16 season record. Playing top compeition like UCLA, Washington, Washington St., Columbia and Kansas St., the Gauchos faced premier programs for portions of the season. Recording an even 4-4 conference record, the Gauchos once again qualified for the season's Big West tournament. Much like the previous year, UCSB fell in a semifinal match to Long Beach St.
In his third season at UCSB, Thibodeau turned his team completely around, leading the Gauchos to a 16-9 record including big wins over nationally ranked teams such as No. 44 St. Mary's and No. 66 Illinois. The Gauchos achieved a national ranking of No. 50 during the 2014-2015 season, the highest ranking the women's tennis team had recieved since 2011. The Gauchos made it to the finals of the Big West Championship, but fell to Long Beach St.