HOUSTON, March 13, 2007 -- The Houston Comets today announced the hiring of Jessie Kenlaw and Ryan Weisenberg as new assistant coaches, and Laurie Byrd as the new Director of Player Personnel.
Kenlaw comes to the Comets after four seasons as an assistant coach in the WNBA, most recently with the Seattle Storm. A native of Guyton, GA, Kenlaw was the head coach for the women's basketball team at the University of Houston for eight years (1990-1998). In 1991, she was named BCA National Coach of the Year after leading Houston to a 21-7 record and the university's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
"Jessie's coaching experience with the WNBA speaks for itself. Her coaching of and rapport with the players is a tremendous asset for the Comets," said Head Coach Karleen Thompson. "She has worked with many of the top athletes in the league, and she also understands the hard work and hours that are put in to winning a championship."
Weisenberg spent two years at Mater Dei High School as the varsity girls head coach and teacher. Prior to that, he was with the Los Angeles Sparks as a co-head coach/assistant coach/scout and video coordinator from 1999 to 2005. During that time, Weisenberg also served as the varsity head coach at South Pasadena High School.
"Ryan and I worked together in L.A. I have the utmost respect for Ryan Weisenberg as a coach," says Thompson. "His knowledge, passion, and commitment to the women's game is incredible. He has gone the miles with me and will work just as hard, and I am excited that he's able to be a part of the Houston Comets."
Byrd comes to the Comets after more than three years as an assistant coach for the WNBA's Detroit Shock. Prior to that, she was assistant woman's basketball coach for the University of Detroit Mercy. Byrd was also a professional basketball player for the San Jose Lasers, the Atlanta Glory, the Kentucky Marauders and the Chicago Spirit.
"There's not a player in women's basketball that she (Laurie) doesn't know and can't dissect their game," says Thompson. "She's a hard worker, dedicated, and she's won a Championship in Detroit with Bill, so she knows what it takes to get the job done."
This season will mark the 11th Anniversary for the Comets and the WNBA. The 2007 season will tip off at Seattle on May 19 when the Comets visit the Storm. The first home game at Toyota Center will take place on May 29 when the Comets host the San Antonio Silver Stars. To purchase season tickets, mini-plans or group tickets, call (713) 627-WNBA or go online at www.houstoncomets.com.