October 11, 2023
Chicago Sky hire WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon as head coach
Trend toward more former players in the league as head coaches continues
Annie Costabile of the Chicago Sun-Times had reported that Weatherspoon and the Chicago Sky have been in discussions for several months. Weatherspoon will replace Emre Vatansever, who served as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season after James Wade’s unexpected departure to the NBA’s Toronto Raptors as an assistant head coach.
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Weatherspoon played eight seasons in the WNBA, seven with the New York Liberty, she led them to four WNBA Finals appearances, and her final season with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2004. She is a five-time WNBA All-Star, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and is considered one of the best players in league history. Additionally, she is a member of the New York Liberty’s Ring of Honor, WNBA 15th- and 20th-anniversary teams, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Most famoisly, Weatherspoon drained “The Shot” from half court in Game 2 of the 1999 WNBA Finals and clinching the New York Liberty’s thrilling victory over the Houston Comets.
With more than 15 years of experience coaching, Weatherspoon brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise. She coached her alum, Louisiana Tech, for eight seasons as associate head coach before being promoted to full-time head coach in 2009. She had a record of 99-71 and led the Lady Techsters to two appearances in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and 2011.
Weatherspoon worked as the Director of Franchise Development for the New York Liberty for four seasons before being hired by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019. She spent four seasons as a two-way player development coach and was promoted to a full-time assistant coach in her second season with the team.
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The Chicago Sky finished the record with 18-22 in the regular season and fell to No. 1 Las Vegas Aces in the first round of the playoffs. Chicago has undergone several changes in player movement and coaching staff since losing to the Connecticut Sun in Game 5 of the 2022 WNBA Semifinals. During the 2022-23 free agency, the Sky lost several key players, including Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Allie Quigley, and Azura Stevens, who were part of the 2021 championship-winning team.
The Chicago Sky extended the contract of 2021 WNBA Finals MVP Kahleah Copper on the last day of the regular season. With the hiring of Weatherspoon as their new head coach, these moves have given the fans hope for the team’s future.
With Weatherspoon’s hiring, she became the 18th former player to become a head coach in league history. There are six former players who are currently head coaches in the league, including both coaches in the WNBA Finals, Sandy Brondello and Becky Hammon. The Phoenix Mercury has a vacant head coaching position after Nikki Blue, a former player and a candidate for the current full-time gig, served as interim head coach for the 2023 season.
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.