Don’t mess with Tom Thibodeau, the man has supporters in high places. The highest of places.
The story goes back a few years. Thibodeau coached for a while at Harvard as a young assistant, and one of his charges was a younger Arne Duncan, co-captain of the team. Thibs impressed Duncan, and that paid off later Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf told the Chicago Sun Times.
‘‘Tom Thibodeau was first recommended to me by [U.S. Secretary of Education] Arne Duncan,’’ Reinsdorf said during an exclusive interview with the Sun-Times on Tuesday. ‘‘And that was two years earlier. The Celtics didn’t give us a chance to talk with him until after the playoffs, when they won the championship.’’
That was the summer that the Bulls ended up hiring Vinny Del Negro. Last summer the job came open.
‘When the job was open again, I talked to Duncan several times on the subject, and he still strongly recommended Thibodeau,’’ Reinsdorf recalled. ‘‘So we hired him. Then in July 2010, the White Sox were playing in Washington, and we invited President Obama to come to the game.
‘‘First, David Axelrod [then Obama’s senior adviser] arrived and said, ‘Thanks for hiring Thibodeau.’ Then a little while later, President Obama came in and the first thing he said to me was, ‘Great hire.’
You know, that is almost exactly how I got this job at PBT….