Dunn Named Fever’s Fourth Head Coach
INDIANAPOLIS – Regarded as one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in history, Lin Dunn has been named as the fourth head coach in Indiana Fever franchise history.
The owner of 525 wins as a college and professional coach, Dunn sheds the assistant title she has worn the past four seasons in Indiana in order to return to the head coaching ranks. She is well-chronicled as one of the nation’s foremost pioneers of women’s basketball, and one of its most prominent coaches and leaders.
Dunn’s coaching resume includes four decades of coaching at the highest levels – the past 10 years in the professional ranks, between stints in Portland, Seattle and Indiana. Prior to her four seasons as a Fever assistant, Dunn served as head coach and general manager of the Seattle Storm, operating the city’s expansion franchise from 1999 to 2002.
Overall, she owns a 525-350 (.600) record as a college and pro head coach.
"I am very excited that Lin has agreed to take the leadership role of this team," said Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. "It was important for us to hire someone who has head coaching experience and who understands what it takes to win in this league. Her career winning percentage and significant head coaching experience speak directly to that. She is a strong leader who is a proven winner with incredible basketball knowledge. I look forward to building a WNBA championship team with Lin."
Speaking from Australia, Fever point guard Tully Bevilaqua offered her thoughts: "Congratulations to Coach Dunn on being named the new Fever head coach. It's an exciting time moving forward with Coach Dunn. She has great insight as a former head coach and as an assistant, and she knows the game inside and out. I'm looking forward to working with Coach Dunn on the court and fulfilling our dream of bringing a title to Indiana."
Dunn served in a scouting capacity for the Fever and former coach Nell Fortner during the 2003 season, and was added to the Fever staff in 2004 – allowing her to remain close to her hometown of Dresden, Tenn. She completed four seasons as an assistant coach with the Fever, the final three which saw Indiana match its franchise record with identical 21-13 records. Her on-court responsibilities included work with the Fever defense which has cemented itself among the stingiest in the WNBA. The Fever allowed the fewest points in the WNBA during each of the 2006 and 2007 summers, and finished first or second in the league in steals in both seasons.
Before joining the Fever, Dunn built the Storm by drafting eventual league MVP Lauren Jackson and 2002 NCAA Player of the Year Sue Bird. In her final year with the Storm, 2002, she guided Seattle to a 17-15 record and the club’s first appearance in the WNBA Playoffs. Dunn was runner-up as the WNBA’s Coach of the Year.
It was with the Storm, at Conseco Fieldhouse coincidentally, that she recorded her 500th coaching victory, when Seattle defeated the Fever (74-71 in overtime) on June 4, 2001.
Dunn’s first assignment in professional basketball came with a midseason phone call to take over the coaching reigns of the American Basketball League’s Portland Power during its inaugural campaign in 1996-97. She won her first game on the same night she was introduced as head coach. A year later, Dunn led the Power on a worst-to-first run that culminated with a 27-17 record and a Western Conference championship. The remarkable turnaround earned Dunn the ABL Coach of the Year honor while guiding such stars as DeLisha Milton-Jones, Sonja Henning, Elaine Powell and former Fever center and two-time ABL MVP Natalie Williams. Portland was in first place at 9-4 when the ABL ceased operations two days before Christmas in 1998.
Her tenure in Portland not only continued the coaching success she has achieved at every level of her career, but also enhanced her profile off the court. In the fledgling league that preceded the WNBA, Dunn’s charisma helped the Power to achieve the largest marketing revenue in the ABL and its second-highest attendance.
She is perhaps best known as the architect of the Purdue University women’s basketball program, guiding the Boilermakers for nine seasons (1988-96) and collecting three Big Ten conference titles. She led the Old Gold-and-Black to seven NCAA Tournaments, four Sweet Sixteen appearances and a trip to the Final Four in 1994. In nine years at Purdue, she earned a 206-68 (.752) record and catapulted the school among the elite women’s basketball programs in the country. She still is the program’s winningest coach.
Dunn coached and recruited three Kodak All-Americans, three Big Ten Players of the Year and two Big Ten Athletes of the Year. Future WNBA stars that emerged from her tenure at Purdue were Summer Erb, Ukari Figgs, Stacey Lovelace, Michelle VanGorp and former Fever star Stephanie White.
Since her collegiate coaching career began at Austin Peay in 1970, she put together a remarkable 25-year record that includes a .635 career winning percentage at four schools (447-257). She left three of those schools – Purdue, Miami and Austin Peay – as the winningest coach in program history.
On the national level, she served on USA Basketball staffs for the 1992 Olympics and 1990 gold medal-winning World Championship and Goodwill Games teams. She was head coach of the 1995 bronze medal-winning USA Jones Cup team, and also served for eight years on the USA Basketball Team selection committee.
Prior to arriving in West Lafayette, she coached at Miami, Fla., from 1979-87. She posted a 149-119 (.556) record through eight seasons and was the first coach to award a scholarship to a women’s basketball player. One of the last players she recruited, Frances Savage, was a Kodak All-American in 1992. She was named the Florida Coach of the Year in 1980-81.
After building a program at Austin Peay for six years, Dunn spent one season at Mississippi before taking the Miami job. She led the Rebels to a 25-15 record and a 12th-place finish at the AIAW National Tournament. Her club ended three-time national champion Delta State’s 56-game winning streak and was named the Mississippi Coach of the Year.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Dunn has earned induction into the athletic halls of fame at both Miami and Austin Peay. She served as chair of the Kodak All-America Selection Committee from 1982-88 and was president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 1984-85.
Dunn earned a B.S. degree in health, physical education and English from Tennessee-Martin. A year later, she received an M.S. degree in physical education from Tennessee-Knoxville.