It was less than 72 hours ago that Mike Bibby, basking in the glow of his Saturday victory that brought a fourth straight boys’ state basketball title to Shadow Mountain High School, told the media he thought it might be time to move on from the school program he has run for the last six years.
He had no idea at the time just how soon he would be leaving his head-coaching position.
The former University of Arizona and NBA player was removed from his volunteer position as head coach almost immediately after the four-peat that has established the basketball program as a dynasty in the sport; the Matadors have won five of the last six state championships under Bibby.
In a formal statement from the Paradise Valley Unified School District on Monday, it was confirmed that Bibby, 40, is under investigation for alleged sexual abuse involving a female teacher at Shadow Mountain. The City of Phoenix Police Department is conducting the investigation, but the school district claims it had already begun its own internal investigation following a report made by the teacher to the school’s resource officer on Feb. 13. The incident occurred two years ago.
(*Update: The Phoenix Police determined that their six-week investigation into the allegations “did not reveal probable cause to recommend charges against anyone in the case.” The case was closed.)
The stunning announcement brought a cruel ending to a weekend celebration following a sweep of the boys’ and girls’ 4A titles. The Shadow Mountain girls’ team slayed the dragon that has ruled small-school basketball for decades, denying Seton Catholic its fourth straight state title with a 54-31 beat-down in Saturday’s state title game.
Then, in the final game of the night, the Shadow Mountain boys took the lead immediately after the tip-off in the title game with Deer Valley High School and never looked back, leading 33-17 at the half and coasting to a 64-38 final.
Bibby, a three-time Arizona Player of the Year in high school, was a key player on Shadow Mountain’s first boy’s basketball championship team, in 1996, and then went on to help the Wildcats to their only national championship the next year. He played 14 years as a point guard in the NBA.
During his six years running the Shadow Mountain program, he compiled a 140-6 record against in-state teams. With Saturday’s victory, Shadow Mountain has won 90 of its last 91 games against Arizona teams. During that span, the Matadors strung together 73 straight wins.
Often ranked nationally, this year’s squad went into the playoffs 13th-ranked.
In recent years, Bibby has often expressed his interest in moving on to become a college coach, or perhaps even getting a start in the NBA, using his impressive success at Shadow Mountain to help build his coaching resume. “I hope I move on to bigger and better things,” he told Arizona Republic writer Richard Obert following Saturday’s title win. “College or NBA, it doesn’t matter. I’d like to coach at the next level, whichever one comes first.”
But the allegations he’s dealing with now could derail those plans.
His accuser claims he forced himself on her, holding her down and groping her in his car, and she has filed, and received, a restraining order as the investigation goes forward. The alleged encounter occurred in February of 2017.
Bibby’s attorney, Donald Harris, has denied the claims on behalf of his client. Harris claims in a formal statement that, “I can say with pretty much certainty this alleged incident didn’t happen, and that will be shown down the road.”
In the meantime, Bibby won’t be preparing for next season with the Matadors. Instead, he will be waiting for the outcome of an investigation that may well determine his future in sports.