The WNBA coaching candidates are out. The four finalists for the vacant head coach position of the Dallas Wings include current assistant coach, Jim Petersen; former Spurs standout and championship-winning center David Robinson; longtime Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) player Lisa Leslie and former Stanford women’s basketball legend Tara VanDerveer.
The “black nba coaches” is a list of black head coaches in the NBA. The list was compiled by ESPN and includes the current head coach, former head coach, and interim head coach.
11:45 p.m. Eastern
ESPN.com’s Mechelle Voepel
- Mechelle Voepel is an espnW reporter that covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports. Voepel has been with ESPN since 1996 and has covered women’s basketball since 1984.
Two head coaching positions were announced on a very busy Monday in the WNBA offseason. Then came the news that Walt Hopkins, the Liberty in New York’s head coach for the previous two seasons, was fired. Sandy Brondello, who had recently guided her team to the WNBA Finals, was fired by the Mercury (Phoenix) a few hours later after eight seasons.
The Liberty are coming off a 12-20 season in which they finished bottom in the Eastern Conference. Forwards Natasha Howard and 2021 Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyenwere, wing Betnijah Laney, and guard Sabrina Ionescu are all solid building stones in New York.
Both the Liberty and the Mercury are original WNBA teams, having joined the league in 1997. The Liberty were formerly linked with the New York Knicks, but are now affiliated with the Brooklyn Nets, who hired Hopkins in January 2020. New York hasn’t won a title in its history.
The Mercury have won three WNBA championships, the most recent in 2014, Brondello’s first season as head coach. With Diana Taurasi at 39 and Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith all 31, she has guided Phoenix to the playoffs in each of her eight seasons. In October, the Mercury were defeated 3-1 by the Chicago Sky in the WNBA Finals.
Tanisha Wright, a former WNBA player, took over the Atlanta Dream after serving as an assistant with the Las Vegas Aces this summer. What qualities will the Liberty and Mercury seek for in new hires? We look at a few potential options.
New York Liberty
Teresa Weatherspoon: The former Liberty guard, who played in New York from 1997 to 2003, is possibly the most well-known player in team history. She also worked for the Liberty as a coach and in the front office, and she presently works as an assistant coach for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.
The Hall of Famer has coaching experience, having guided her alma university, Louisiana Tech, to a 99-71 record in women’s basketball from 2009 to 2014. Weatherspoon led Louisiana Tech to the national title in 1988 as a player.
If Weatherspoon wanted to return to the WNBA, this would seem to be the most ideal situation for her, and Liberty fans would be ecstatic.
Brondello, Sandy: Brondello may not be out of work for long. She fits the criteria for both if New York is seeking for someone with a lot of postseason experience and a track record of nurturing potential. Brondello is also the coach of the Australian national team, which connects him to Liberty: Naturalized Australian Sami Whitcomb and Opals star Rebecca Allen are also on the New York squad.
Remember when Connecticut parted ways with coach Mike Thibault following the 2012 season, and he was hired by the Washington Mystics? With the 2019 title, that strategy paid off handsomely. Perhaps Brondello and the Liberty will have a similar experience.
Sue Bird, a four-time WNBA champion, has said that she will decide whether or not to return for a 19th season during the WNBA summer. USA TODAY Sports’ Mary Holt
Sue Bird says: We’re taking a chance here since she hasn’t declared her retirement as a player. Bird considers Seattle to be as much her home as New York, owing to her incredible playing career with the Storm. She is, nevertheless, a native of Long Island. So maybe the task of leading the Liberty to their first championship — not to mention the first pro basketball victory for New York since the Knicks won the NBA Championship in 1973 — is appealing.
Bird has never been a coach, though she has worked in the front office of the Denver Nuggets, but she has long been the ultimate coach on the court.
Becky Hammon, a San Antonio Spurs assistant coach, is one of the top female prospects to become an NBA head coach, along with Teresa Weatherspoon. She spent eight of her 16 seasons in the WNBA in New York. Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports Soobum Im-USA
Becky Hammon: Thanks, Becky. We’re taking another chance on Hammon, who has worked as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs for a long time and has said that her ambition is to be an NBA head coach. Hammon’s compensation is anticipated to be in the $750,000 level in her ninth season with the Spurs, more than double what other WNBA coaches allegedly earn.
As a result, the Liberty may not be able to entice her in any way. Hammon, like Weatherspoon, was a fan favorite with the Liberty from 1999 through 2006, before being moved to San Antonio. It seems to be a long chance, but if any WNBA team could get Hammon, it would almost certainly be New York.
Lindsey Harding works for the Sacramento Kings as a player development and assistant coach. Icon Sportswire/Jevone Moore
Agler, Brian: Agler is a former WNBA coach who won championships with Seattle (2010) and Los Angeles (2012). (2016). In 2019, he was the head coach of the Dallas Wings. Agler is currently the director of athletics at his alma school, Wittenberg University in Ohio, but he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of returning to coaching.
Pokey Chatman: The former Sky and Indiana Fever coach has extensive WNBA and international coaching experience. The Mercury players are all acquainted with her, and this would provide her with the opportunity to compete for a WNBA title, which is something she has yet to do.
Lindsey Harding: The former WNBA guard is currently an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings in her third season. She formerly worked for the Philadelphia 76ers and might be eyeing a promotion to head coach.
Latricia Trammell is a defensive wizard who works as an assistant for the Los Angeles Sparks. She was a WNBA assistant in San Antonio before that, and she was a longstanding head coach and assistant at the collegiate and high school levels before that. As the head coach at Oklahoma City in 2014 and 2015, she won two NAIA national titles.
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