University of Washington’s head coach Mike Hopkins has been named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year, the league announced Monday, while junior Matisse Thybulle became the first player in UW history to be named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Coach Hopkins, in his first year with the UW program, is the fourth UW coach to earn a Coach of the Year honor and first since 2012. He joins Lorenzo Romar (2012, 2009, 2005), Bob Bender (1996) and Marv Harshman (1982, 1984) in being awarded the honor but is the first to take home the award in his first season as the head coach.
Hopkins is also just the sixth Pac-12 Coach to earn the honor in their first year at their university joining Stanford’s Dick DiBiaso (1976), UCLA’s Gary Cunningham (1978), Oregon State’s Jim Anderson (1990), California’s Ben Braun (1997) and Washington State’s Tony Bennett (2007).
Hopkins has led the Huskies to a 20-11 regular season record, UW’s 29th 20-win season in program history. Additionally, UW made a huge jump in wins after finishing 9-22 a year ago, its largest move between seasons since 1936-37 and 1938 when UW went from 15-11 to 29-7 the following year.
Washington also went from 2-16 to 10-8 in Pac-12 play which is its biggest jump (eight wins more) in conference play in UW history. Washington also had the first forward since 2010-11 to earn Pac-12 First Team All-Conference team honors, the first Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honor in Matisse Thybulle and put three on the all-conference teams for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
Thybulle, the owner of the 2018 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award, has been a force this season under head coach Mike Hopkins’ 2-3 zone as he has set the UW career record in steals with 196 and also moved into the UW career top 10 in blocks with 98. He is the only UW player in program history to be in the top 10 in both categories. He is also sixth in Pac-12 history in single-season steals with his 92 this year, which is 18 off the conference’s single season record and is the UW single-season record as well.
In the last 25 years, Thybulle is one of three Pac-12 players to post over 190 steals and 90 blocks in their career while he is also just the fourth player in UW history to earn All-Defensive Team honors, joining Aziz N’Diaye (2011), Justin Holiday (2010) and Venoy Overton (2010). He’s started in every single game of his career which now spans to 96 and has a streak of 43-straight games with at least one steal posted.
Washington had a trio of players earn All-Conference honors, announced earlier on Monday, as Noah Dickerson was a First Team selection, Jaylen Nowell picked up honorable mention Pac-12 honors and All-Freshman Team recognition while Thybulle was on the All-Defensive Team.
Washington opens the 2018 Pac-12 Tournament as a seven-seed facing No. 10 seed Oregon State at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.