Coaching Legends: The Influential Women Guiding WNBA Teams

pokerchatforum June 25, 2023
Updated 2023/06/25 at 1:50 PM

Legends of the WNBA are more than just dominant players; they also make excellent coaches. This season, several former pros have taken over coaching duties on various teams across the league. 

Quinn, who helped guide the Lynx to three championships as an assistant coach, now faces a formidable task leading New York’s young squad in its inaugural full season under her leadership. So far she appears capable of facing it. 

Sue Bird

Sue Bird has witnessed interest in women’s sports rise and fall throughout her career. The Seattle Storm point guard understands the cyclical nature of media coverage – peaking during Final Four and WNBA playoff events and then gradually decreasing after. 

Off the court, she’s part of an emerging cadre of athletes stepping forward for social justice. Remember her in MyTEAM by including this future Hall-of-Famer into your lineup and take advantage of system proficiency boosts to honor her.

Tina Charles

Charles is known to combine her passion for basketball with giving back. Part of her WNBA salary has been donated to Hopey’s Heart Foundation, an organization which works to place defibrillators in schools.

Charles has accepted a buyout offer from Phoenix Mercury and plans to join a title contending Seattle Storm team with Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd – former teammates at UConn – playing alongside them. 

Elena Delle Donne

Elena Delle Donne has become one of the greatest scorers in WNBA history since being acquired from Chicago to Washington Mystics in 2021.

Tina Martin of the University of Delaware women’s basketball coach heard her phone ring at 2 a.m. local time – it was Elena Delle Donne calling from UConn requesting she return home immediately. 

Sylvia Fowles

Fowles has long been considered the premier back-to-the-basket center in WNBA history, yet she possesses much more. Equipped with a mortuary science degree, she plans on becoming a mortician after retirement. 

Her teammates and coaches describe her as loving, caring and strong. She puts herself into other people’s shoes to see things from their perspectives; something which helps her lead both on and off the court.

Brittney Griner

Griner has never been one to blend in. Her dreadlocks and unparalleled hooping skills set her apart.

As the number-one pick in 2013’s WNBA Draft, she quickly became a symbol for gay women and black Americans alike. When the government classified her as a prisoner who was wrongfully detained, even more supporters rallied behind her cause, WNBA picks.

Angel McCoughtry

Angel McCoughtry, one of the most-accomplished players in WNBA history, says she isn’t ready to retire just yet at 36 years old. She wants one more season on the court!

She hopes to find a team that values her experience from college, league and international competition as well as coach. Louisville’s successful women’s program serves as an exemplar, boasting 14 Black women leading basketball teams at 65 Power Five schools across its jurisdiction. 

Tamika Catchings

As she steps down as general manager of the Indiana Fever, Catchings will leave with some unfinished business. She holds four Olympic gold medals and was the only player ever to record an official quintuple-double score. 

She currently serves as president of the Women’s National Basketball Association Players Association and will be honored with induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. Additionally, Catch the Stars, her foundation overseeing programs for boys and girls aged 7-18 provides programs tailored towards youth in need. 

Cynthia Cooper

WNBA coaches have provided women and girls with encouragement to believe in themselves while also helping ensure the league continues as an industry leader in creating opportunities for them off the court.

Cooper-Dyke began her college coaching career in May 2005 at Prairie View A&M University in central Texas; she stayed there five seasons before making the switch to UNCW.

Yolanda Griffith

Raina Perez is no stranger to encountering challenges. Her sport of choice, women’s basketball, often seems marginalized compared to its male counterpart.

Griffith helped the national team win two gold medals during her playing career and now works as an assistant coach for Dartmouth university – increasing the chances that young post players find success both on campus and beyond.

Lisa Leslie

In 1997, women’s basketball received a major boost with the launch of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), featuring Leslie as its inaugural poster child. She hails from Hollywood’s glitter and glamour and was seen everywhere she played!

Leslie remains a powerful presence both on and off the court. As a coach and mentor, she strives to inspire young girls to pursue their goals–whether on the hardwood court or within broadcast studio walls.

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