April 21, 2021 

Jennifer Rizzotti returns to Connecticut as Sun’s new president

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the contributions that Amber Cox made to this franchise over the past five years,” said Rizzotti

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After five years at George Washington University, Jennifer Rizzotti is returning to the state where she first made her mark as a point guard and a coach.

The Connecticut Sun announced Rizzotti as team president on Tuesday, and she will be formally introduced at a press conference on Tuesday, April 27, at Mohegan Sun Arena. 

“I am so honored to rejoin the WNBA family in this leadership position with the Connecticut Sun,” said Rizzotti. “This league employs the very best women’s basketball players in the world. But more importantly, the WNBA is an inclusive and diverse community of women that inspire, lead and in their own words, ‘provide a voice for the voiceless.’ I am proud to have won two championships as a player in the WNBA and will work tirelessly to help bring a championship to the Sun franchise.”

A native of New Fairfield, Connecticut, Rizzotti starred as point guard for the University of Connecticut and helped lead the Huskies to the program’s first NCAA title in 1995. She later played professionally for the Hartford-based New England Blizzard of the American Basketball League before playing for the Houston Comets in the WNBA. 

She won’t be playing point guard for the Sun (the team signed Jasmine Thomas to a multi-year contract to do that), but her leadership experience will definitely come in handy as she serves as the franchise’s theoretical point guard. As president, Rizzotti will oversee overall business operations and marketing strategies. She replaces Amber Cox, who served as vice president of the Sun for the last five seasons. Cox left the team in February to join the Kansas City expansion team in the NWSL. 

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the contributions that Amber Cox made to this franchise over the past five years,” said Rizzotti. “She and head coach & GM, Curt Miller, have made the Connecticut Sun one of the most successful teams in the WNBA. I look forward to using this foundation and the overall culture of the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Sun to attract players, fans, and sponsors to be a part of our bright future.” 

Coach Curt Miller often talks about the Sun’s focus on championship culture as the team tries to secure the franchise’s first WNBA Championship, and Rizzotti brings a treasure trove of individual and team success that earned her an induction in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. 

“Jen Rizzotti brings instant credibility and is a powerhouse within the women’s basketball community. She has deep roots here in Connecticut and we could not be more thrilled to have her joining our team,” said Connecticut Sun Board of Governors Representative and Recording Secretary for the Mohegan Tribal Council, Kathy Regan-Pyne.“Her passion, talent, and expertise, along with her shared values and philosophies, make her a natural fit within our organization. We look forward to the team’s continued success and path forward under her leadership and alongside our incredible staff, coaches, and players.”

Rizzotti played for Geno Auriemma’s Huskies from 1992-1996 and left Storrs with an NCAA Championship, All-American honors, and a Wade Trophy. She was a two-time All-Star in the ABL before winning back-to-back WNBA championships with the Houston Comets in 1999 and 2000. 

Rizzotti played in the WNBA until 2003 but picked up her first head coaching gig at the University of Hartford while still a player with the Comets in 1999. She coached at Hartford for 17 seasons. During that span, she compiled an overall record of 316-216 and led the Hawks to five America East conference championships and four regular-season titles. She earned conference Coach of the Year honors in 2006, 2007, and 2010, and developed a handful of players into conference stars, including Danielle Hood who is Hartford’s only WNBA draftee. 

Rizzotti lands in Connecticut’s front office after spending five seasons at the helm of George Washington’s women’s basketball program as head coach. She took over the program ahead of the 2016-2017 season and had the challenge of retooling the team’s roster after former GW star Jonquel Jones graduated the season before. In five seasons at GW, Rizzotti accumulated a 72-74 overall record with one WNIT and one NCAA appearance and was fired at the end of the 2020-2021 season. 

Outside of her experience in the NCAA, Rizzotti has also coached on the international level with Team USA dating back to 2006 in roles as an assistant coach and head coach for various gold-winning U18 and U19 teams, as well as an advance scout and court coach for the national World Cup and Olympic teams in 2015 and 2016 respectively. She was named USA Basketball Coach of the Year in 2011 and is expected to be on the sidelines as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic team and USA AmeriCup team this year.

“When you open the official website of the Mohegan Tribe, the first thing you read is Honor the Past. Building for the future,” Rizzotti said. “I believe the immediate future of the WNBA has never been more exciting. The level of talent, growing support around the sports world, and the league’s commitment to be a keystone for cultural change in these tempestuous times makes this upcoming season one of the most important in its already rich history.”

Written by Jacqueline LeBlanc

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