March 23, 2021
What WNBA All-Star Tonya Edwards adds to the Chicago Sky coaching staff
More championship experience for a team looking to win it all
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The Chicago Sky have added former WNBA All-Star Tonya Edwards to their coaching staff for the 2021 season. Edwards brings with her a breadth of championship experience.
In college, she played for the Lady Vols under Hall of Fame coach Pat Summit and won two National Championships (1987, 1989), was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player (1987) and earned All-SEC Second Team honors (1988).
Before her WNBA career, Edwards played for the Columbus Quest in the American Basketball League (ABL), the first independent professional basketball league for women in the United States. She won two championships with them (1996-97, 1997-98). Notably, when the Quest’s head coach, Brian Agler, left midseason to become head coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, Edwards stepped in as a player-coach. Edwards was later reunited with her former coach when the Minnesota Lynx picked her as the No. 7 overall pick in the 1999 draft. She also played for the Phoenix Mercury and Charlotte Sting.
Edwards coached at her alma mater, Northwest Community High School, and led her team to the 1993 Michigan State Championship after a perfect 28-0 record and was named as the state’s High School Coach of the Year.
Tonya Edwards also served as coach of the Chicago Blaze (NWBL) for one season, three years as an assistant coach at the University of Detroit and seven seasons as the head coach for the Alcorn State Lady Braves (2008-2015), where she was named SWAC Coach of the Year in 2011 and led the Lady Braves to the SWAC Championship Game in 2012.
Edwards was an assistant coach for the 2016 Los Angeles Sparks championship team, again reuniting with her former coach, Brian Agler. She was a part of the coaching staff when the Sparks had one of its best three-year stretches in franchise history. In addition to the 2016 WNBA championship, Los Angeles went 71-31 from 2016-18 in the regular season. The addition of Edwards to the Sky coaching staff reunites her with newly acquired Sky forward, Candace Parker, who was present when Parker won her first WNBA Finals MVP award.
For a team looking to win its first franchise championship, it appears that the Sky are positioning themselves to be a playoff favorite. “We’re happy and now we feel like a more complete coaching staff,” Wade said in a press release. “Now, we’re ready to rock and roll.”
Edwards joins returning assistant coaches Olaf Lange and Emre Vatansever, filling the Sky’s open assistant coach slot after Bridget Pettis stepped away prior to the 2020 season.