New coach Mike Babul leads Thayer boys hoops team through impressive season

The Thayer Academy boys varsity basketball team made great strides this past season under first-year head coach Mike Babul, who’s excited to return the program to the top tier of the ISL and NEPSAC. 

Mike Babul coaching boys varsity 2024

Babul coaching the boys varsity team                

“Coaching at Thayer Academy has been a dream job for me,” said Babul. “I’ve driven past the school every day on my way to work and thought, ‘That’s where I want to work. That’s the program I want to step into next.’” 

Led by a strong group of seniors including ISL All-League forward Lenny Tangishaka — who reached the 1000-point career milestone at Thayer despite playing just two seasons — the Tigers earned 13 wins and finished above .500, both overall and in the ISL, for the first time in several seasons. Highlights included early-season victories against Kimball Union Academy and St. Paul’s, a two-point win over Lawrence Academy, and a 65-64 overtime win over Governor’s Academy before a big home crowd at Memorial Gym. 

ISL athletic directors and coaches noted the surprise team taking the league by storm and made a point of telling Bobbi Moran, the Academy’s athletic director. 

“They told me: ‘I don’t know how you landed him, but he’s a great coach, and the growth of the team in such a short period of time is impressive,’” said Moran. 

But Moran also said she wasn’t as surprised as some of her ISL colleagues. 

“I’d done my homework on Mike and loved everything I’d read and heard,” she said. “I knew that his experience at the collegiate and professional level would excite our community; however, it was his passion for teaching the game and the life lessons that it offers that sold me. I knew he’d be a great person to build upon the strong foundation of Thayer boys basketball.”

A North Attleborough native, Babul is new to Thayer but by no means new to basketball; in fact, in hoops parlance, he’s what they call “a lifer.” As a senior at North Attleborough High School Babul was named Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year; he was also selected as Player of the Year by the Massachusetts High School Coaches Association. Nationally, Babul was a member of Parade Magazine’s 1996 All-American Team, which honors the top 40 high school players in the United States. 

At the college level, Babul played four seasons at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was a three-time selection to the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Defensive Team and All-Academic Team. As a senior, he served as team captain. 

A coaching veteran who most recently served as an assistant coach for the Long Island Nets, the G League affiliate of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, Babul joined that organization following seven seasons at Wagner College, where he spent his last four seasons as associate head coach. He has previously served as the director of basketball operations at Auburn University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Drexel University. He currently is an independent basketball trainer and the owner of Hoop Work, whose goal is to provide athletes in New England with the opportunity to develop their skills year-round. 

Thayer Summer Sports Camps

Babul will be on campus as part of Thayer Summer Sports Camps; from Aug. 12 through Aug. 15, he’ll run a basketball camp for both boys and girls entering grades 3 through 8. 

With the first season in the books, Moran said she was impressed by how the players responded to their new coach and respected him. For his part, Babul said his goal is to build upon Thayer’s current foundation with the help of some incredibly passionate student-athletes. 

“I love coaching these boys, and the parents are fantastic,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the future of Thayer basketball.”