September 21, 2023
Emre Vatansever will not return as head coach, GM of Chicago Sky
A sneak peak on how next Chicago front office will look
On Wednesday, the Chicago Sky announced that Emre Vatansever will not be retained as head coach or general manager.
After James Wade left the Chicago Sky to become an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors in July, Vatansever took over as the interim head coach and general manager. He managed to lead the team to an 11-13 record during his tenure. The Sky’s season ended on Sunday after being swept 2-0 by the Las Vegas Aces in the first round of the playoffs.
In the last week of the regular season, Vatansever led the team to secure the final playoff spot by winning a crucial tiebreaker against the Los Angeles Sparks and a home victory over the Lynx. This achievement resulted in the team making a franchise record of five consecutive appearances in the playoffs.
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“We give all our thanks and gratitude to Emre, who has dedicated five-plus years to this organization and helping this team win its first-ever WNBA Championship in 2021,” Chicago Sky principal owner Michael Alter said in a press release. “His passion and commitment to a winning culture and ensuring on-court success will never be forgotten here at the Sky. We are extremely grateful for Emre taking over the helm at a difficult time this season. He did a tremendous job of leading this team to another playoff berth and we will be forever grateful for taking leadership the way he did.”
During his first three seasons in the league from 2015-17, Vatansever worked as an intern for Jenny Boucek’s staff with the Seattle Storm. He joined the Chicago Sky as a Player Development Coach in 2018. As an assistant coach, he was part of the team’s first franchise championship in 2021.
“I want to thank the Chicago Sky for six incredible years here at this organization,” Vatansever said in a press release. “I learned so much from our coaches, players, staff who have supported me throughout my time in Chicago and in my career. I would also like to thank the fans who have been with us through all our ups and downs. Thank you everyone for giving me the opportunity to lead and learn in this amazing city.”
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During exit interviews on Monday, Chicago Sky star Kahleah Copper said that the team will be separating the responsibilities of general manager and head coach. Copper signed a contract extension with the team on the final day of the regular season.
The Chicago Sky was the only WNBA team with a head coach and general manager role held by the same person.
“I know for sure the positions are going to be separate, which is great,” Copper said during the exit interviews on Monday.
A few weeks ago, Annie Costabile of the Chicago Sun Times reported that the Sky had interviewed several candidates, including Teresa Weatherspoon, a Hall of Famer, for the head coaching position.
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Written by Aya Abdeen
Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.