5 candidates to be the new Sky coach -- including a few 'let's try something different' options

Julia Poe, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

CHICAGO — With the Chicago Sky eliminated from the WNBA playoffs, the team’s front office now faces the most important task of the year: filling the empty offices left by former coach and general manager James Wade, who unexpectedly departed the team midseason to take an assistant coaching job with the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

The Sky already made the critical decision to separate the coach and general manager roles, which All-Star guard Kahleah Copper confirmed during exit interviews Monday.

“I know for sure the positions are going to be separate, which is great,” Copper said.

The Sky were the last WNBA team with a dual coach/GM position, a status that both players and interim coach/GM Emre Vatansever criticized in the second half of this season.

While Vatansever is under consideration for the permanent coaching position, he also voiced willingness to stay in Chicago as an assistant — he has worked for the Sky under two head coaches since 2018 — if he doesn’t get the job.

“I would love to be here, but everything has to fall into place,” Vatansever said during exit interviews.


As the Sky begin their coaching search, here are five options for the front office to consider.

The obvious choice: Teresa Weatherspoon

Weatherspoon should be on the top of any team’s list of coaching candidates — and according to a Chicago Sun-Times report, she became a top target for the Sky immediately after Wade’s departure. Most recently an assistant for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, she would bring a balance of experience as a Hall of Fame player, college head coach and assistant in the pros.

As a player, Weatherspoon won an NCAA championship at Louisiana Tech and an Olympic gold medal in 1988, then became a five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year. She returned to her alma mater and coached the Lady Techsters to a 99-71 record and two NCAA Tournament appearances from 2008-14.


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