November 4, 2022
Indiana Fever hire Christie Sides to coach franchise back to winning ways
Sides comes from an Atlanta Dream team that sought to 'defend from start to finish'
The Indiana Fever are hiring Christie Sides to be the next head coach of the franchise, the team announced Friday.
“Christie has all the traits I value,” Fever interim general manager Lin Dunn said in the team’s release. “She is an excellent teacher with a high basketball IQ. She is a relationship person and a connector. Christie will be demanding, pay attention to detail, and will also make sure we defend and play hard. I love her energy and believe she is a perfect fit for our young, talented team.”
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Sides spent last season in Atlanta as an assistant coach for the Dream. Prior to that, she was on the Fever’s staff as an assistant under Pokey Chatman. She spent time with Northwestern University and the Chicago Sky before her time with the Fever.
The Fever’s new coach was a player at the collegiate level, spending two seasons at Mississippi and two at Louisiana Tech.
Indiana forward NaLyssa Smith stated in September that she was hoping the next version of the Fever would play faster and with more pace, and the Dream were third in pace this past season with Sides on staff. Additionally, Dunn has often shared that she puts a premium on defense, and Sides had many defensive responsibilities for Atlanta this past season.
“We want to be the best-conditioned team in the league. That’s because we really are going to have to defend from start to finish, you know, 90 feet,” Sides told The Next earlier this year while with the Dream. “That’s our identity. We’re going to get up and we’re going to guard.”
Tanisha Wright, the Dream’s head coach and the 2022 WNBA Coach of the Year runner-up, had high praise for Sides. “Her energy is off the charts and she is well-respected by players in the league,” Wright said.
The Fever will hope that Sides can bring the franchise back to its winning ways. The Fever have won double-digit games just once in the last six seasons, and they have had four different head coaches since their last playoff win. The franchise desperately needs a boost, and bringing in a new head coach alongside a young, growing roster is Dunn’s plan to elevate the team out of the WNBA basement.
“I think for me, it’s just a little bit more consistency at that level,” guard Kelsey Mitchell said of what she wants from the Fever’s head coach. That was before it was known it would be Sides, and Mitchell played for the red and blue during Sides’ tenure with the team as an assistant. “For me, it’s just like, whoever comes in, just play to our strengths and put us in a position to culturally change the Fever organization.”
Dunn wanted to have her head coach in place prior to the start of the NCAA season so that the coach and interim general manager could get on the same page about team planning, scouting strategy and more. By hiring Sides now, days prior to the start of the collegiate season, the two can be ready for both scouting and the WNBA Draft lottery on Nov. 11.