Trail Blazers assistant coach Nate Tibbetts has ascended the basketball ranks over the last 17 years and seems primed for an NBA head coaching job in the near future. No small feat for someone whose career started as a point guard in the North Central Conference.
In a recent article, Mick Garry of USA Today catalogs Tibbetts’ odyssey:
Tibbetts has been a member of Terry Stotts’ staff in Portland for five seasons, following a stint as a Cleveland Cavaliers assistant from 2011-13. Prior to that, he served as a head coach in the NBA D-League with the Skyforce and Tulsa 66ers.
He has a near-reverential appreciation for coaches and players he’s worked with and also the Heineman family in Sioux Falls, who put him on the career track he’s on now when they looked past his inexperience and made him coach of the Skyforce in 2007.
Along the way, Garry chronicles the formative relationship between Tibbetts’ and his father, Fred.
“If I told Dad how the Blazers are taking care of me financially, it would be like, ‘Nate, are you kidding me?’” he said. “He did it for the love – probably just so he could get a teaching job at the beginning. And obviously I didn’t get it into it for the money, either – I spent four years at USF not making jack. I know there are a lot of people out there who have bad days and hard days. That’s the way my parents raised my brother and I – be thankful for what you have and enjoy it.”
Garry’s profile has much more about one of Portland’s more popular assistant coaches.