Sky officially name former WNBA star Weatherspoon head coach

After 18 years of existence, the Sky is going in a different direction with the official announcement of Teresa Weatherspoon as the new coach.

Weatherspoon is the first former WNBA player to lead the Sky. She was one of the stars in the league's early years, playing from 1997-2004. She won the first two defensive player of the year awards and was second-team All-WNBA for four straight seasons while playing for the New York Liberty.

“I'm excited to be a part of the Chicago Sky family,” Weatherspoon said in a statement. “The things that we are about to do as a team, a business and in the community will be rooted in excitement, excellence and hard work.”

The official press release quoted co-owner and operating chairman Nadia Rawlinson, possibly an indication there will be more voices involved in running the team besides majority owner Michael Alter.

The expectation when the season ended was the Sky would finally split the coach and general manager duties. If that's still the case, the team has yet to name a general manager who will essentially serve as Weatherspoon's boss.

The Sky finished 18-22 last season, earning the final playoff spot in the WNBA. James Wade, the most successful coach in the team's history, resigned at midseason to take a job with the Toronto Raptors. He was replaced by assistant Emre Vatansever, who was told shortly after the playoff loss to Las Vegas he would not return.

Weatherspoon, 57, most recently worked as an NBA assistant coach for the New Orleans Pelicans from 2020-23. Before that, the Pineland, Texas, native was the coach at Louisiana Tech, her alma mater, from 2009-14.

The Sky is expected to bring back a similar nucleus of players next season. All-star Kahleah Copper signed a two-year extension on the final day of the regular season, while guard Marina Mabry, center Elizabeth Williams, and injured forward Isabelle Harrison are under contract for next year.

The Sky does not have a first-round draft pick, having traded it to Dallas for Mabrey. After making the playoffs just four times in the first 13 years of existence, the Sky reached the postseason five years in a row under Wade and Vatansever.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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