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updated: 2/12/2013 11:46 PM

Sky gives Chatman vote of confidence with contract extension

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  • Coach Pokey Chatman received a multi-year contract extension Tuesday from the Chicago Sky. Her assistant coaches, Christie Sides and Jeff House, were also re-signed.

      Coach Pokey Chatman received a multi-year contract extension Tuesday from the Chicago Sky. Her assistant coaches, Christie Sides and Jeff House, were also re-signed.
    Associated Press


In our high-tech, fast-food culture, instant results are expected everywhere -- including the sports world.

And yet, even though Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman hasn't choreographed an immediate about-face for the franchise over her first two seasons, she's been able to quickly gain the confidence of the front office.

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On Tuesday, Sky officials gave Chatman the ultimate vote of confidence when they announced that they had signed her to a multi-year contract extension.

Chatman's assistant coaches, Christie Sides and Jeff House, have also been re-signed.

"We brought Pokey to Chicago two years ago because she has had a track record of winning at every level," Sky president Adam Fox said. "In the short time she's been with our franchise, we have seen dramatic changes to the level of play and the popularity of the team. The ability to maintain the continuity of our coaching staff bodes well for the 2013 season and beyond."

Chatman has had impressive success coaching in Russia during the off-seasons, and her LSU teams before that were among the best in college basketball. The Tigers went to three consecutive Final Fours under Chatman.

The Sky believes that with some traction and a bit better luck, Chatman will soon be able to work her magic in Chicago.

Chatman's first two seasons with the Sky were frustrating for her in that they ended without a playoff appearance and 14-20 records. Then again, last season wasn't exactly a great indicator of the team's full progress under Chatman.

The Sky started out a franchise-best 7-1, but then was forced to play around injuries to its top two players, sharp-shooting guard Epiphanny Prince and 6-foot-6 Olympic center Sylvia Fowles. Prince missed most of the first half of the summer with a broken foot, while Fowles sat out multiple games at the end of the season with calf problems.

With a healthy roster and the No. 2 draft pick in the upcoming WNBA draft, Chatman should be well positioned to help the Sky make a significant shift this summer.

The Sky, looking for its first playoff berth in its eight-year history, will likely choose either star Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins or 6-foot-5 Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne in the draft.

• Patricia Babcock McGraw is a color commentator for the Chicago Sky.

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