By Brian Martin, WNBA.com
Assistant coach Ryan Weisenberg with head coach Karleen Thompson
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Weisenberg and Thompson both began their WNBA careers with the Los Angeles Sparks, where they were both assistant coaches and in 2004 became co-interim head coaches when Michael Cooper left the Sparks during the season to take an assistant coaching position with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.
Prior to working with the Sparks, Weisenberg was an assistant video coordinator and player scout for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999 to 2004. He worked double duty as an advance scout and video coordinator for the Sparks in 2003 before leaving the Lakers to join the Sparks coaching staff on an exclusive basis in 2004.
Weisenberg says transitioning from the NBA to the WNBA was a great career move.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me” he said. “My first year with the Lakers, Kobe Bryant was being defended, I forget by who, and I told him ‘Hey, look there’s a move if you go baseline, blah, blah, blah’ and he didn’t say a word to me. He did it and it worked and it wasn’t just me that was seeing it. And I was like okay (sarcastically).
“I told Lisa Leslie almost the same thing with a post move, she does it and comes back and says, ‘Thanks. What can I do next?’ It’s just that kind of attitude that I like. The women really listen, they want to learn, the basketball is very fundamental and that’s where I like being. You try to help a player and they actually take the help and do it, it’s a good thing to see.”
Thompson cited Weisenberg’s commitment to women’s basketball and their prior working relationship as the reasons she wanted him as a part of her staff.
“He’s a huge supporter of women’s basketball, he has love for the game and he’s truly dedicated to it,” Thompson said. “His energy, as well as his intelligence and knowledge for the game are a huge plus. We work well together. We pretty much think along the same lines, but he’s not afraid to disagree, which is what I like. He gives his points and I truly respect him for that.”
Weisenberg’s primary duty is to work with the post players and Thompson has been impressed with the strides Michelle Snow has made under Weisenberg’s tutelage in terms of being more consistent and more aggressive in the post.
Weisenberg has a more open description of his job duties.
“I work with the post players, I work with Coach Karleen on putting together all of the X-and-O stuff, just basically anything she needs or the players need, I do,” he said.
While being an assistant coach has been fulfilling for Weisenberg, he does have higher aspirations for the future.
“Within the next couple of years, I would like to either take over a WNBA team and be a head coach, or be a head coach at a Division I school,” he said. “I love the WNBA, it’s a great league, they just signed the new deal with ESPN, everything is in a very positive motion, so I would love to stay here if I could for the rest of my career.”