With the team riding a high of a six-game winning streak in the Beko BBL and a convincing 22-point victory in their Eurocup debut, ratiopharm ulm didn’t waste any time locking up their 37-year-old ambitious head coach Thorsten Leibenath until 2015. Ulm prematurely extended by two seasons their deal with the Leverkusen native, who was due to become a free agent coach at season’s end.
The move does not come as a surprise as the current league leaders Ulm have turned into a German title contender since Leibenath took over the reins from Mike Taylor in July 11. Ulm reached the Beko BBL finals last season as well as the German Cup Top Four in his first season at the helm.
“Thorsten Leibenath is an absolute expert. There is no question about that. That was important for us, especially in the total concept of Basketball Ulm, which does not just include the Bundesliga team,” said Ulm general manager Thomas Stoll.
“We as an organization are not interested in short-term success but instead over the long term,” added financial CEO Andreas Oettel.
Leibenath earned the title Head Coach of the Year for Ulm’s success last season and has put together a 40-11 record in the BBL thus far.
“I am very thankful that I was given the confidence to continue working with perspectives and sustainability. Despite the surprising success last season, we still have a big potential to develop,” said Leibenath.
Leibenath started his coaching career in 1998 and got his first head coaching gig in 2006 with the Scottish Rocks in the British Basketball League. He returned to Germany a year later as head coach at Giessen and was named as the successor of Chris Fleming at Artland Dragons in 2008, nearly missing the playoffs for two straight seasons. He spent the 2010-11 season with the ProA second division side Osnabrück before getting the Ulm job.