January 20, 2022
USA Basketball names assistants for World Cup qualifiers
5 of 12 WNBA head coaches on USA Basketball's staff
Head coach Cheryl Reeve has named her staff for USA Basketball in its upcoming World Cup Qualifiers, and it will look very familiar to WNBA fans. Mike Thibault, Vickie Johnson, James Wade, and Curt Miller will join Reeve, equating to five of the league’s 12 head coaches.
The U.S., which has already secured a bid to this fall’s World Cup in Australia after winning the Olympic gold medal, will host Puerto Rico and Belgium from Feb. 10-12 in Washington, D.C. The latter two teams will play Russia in the Dominican Republic the next week with two qualifying for the World Cup.
The U.S. training camp for the qualifiers will be held from Feb. 5-9, where the roster will be selected. While Johnson and Thibault will be on the bench with Reeve in Washington, Wade and Miller will be serving as court coaches and team scouts.
Thibault brings the most USA Basketball experience, having assisted on the team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships. The current Washington Mystics coach is the league’s career wins leader by a wide margin.
Johnson just completed her first season as coach of the Dallas Wings, after a decade coaching the San Antonio/Las Vegas franchise. Wade is fresh off winning a WNBA title with the Chicago Sky and is a former assistant of Reeve’s with the Minnesota Lynx. Miller was named the WNBA Coach of the Year in 2021, after a 26-6 finish with the Connecticut Sun, his second such award.
Reeve succeeded Dawn Staley as national team coach in early December after serving as an assistant for the past two Olympic cycles. Staley was part of the committee that selected the coaching staff, however, along with the likes of Jennifer Rizzotti, Seimone Augustus, and DeLisha Milton-Jones.
In total, the coaching staff combines for nine WNBA Coach of the Year awards, including five of the past six, plus six league championships. It will be very familiar with the elite crop of players vying for roster spots, as well as the top opposing athletes.
Written by Scott Mammoser
Scott Mammoser started out covering the Niagara University women's basketball team in 2002. He went on to cover FIBA World Cups in Turkey and Spain, Under-19 World Cups in Thailand and Spain, the Asia Cup in China, as well as major international events for World Athletics and the International Skating Union. He has been to six Olympics and traveled to more than 80 countries.