Fever History

Below is a timeline of the building of the Fever franchise:

June 7, 1999
Just three days prior to the start of the 1999 season, the WNBA announces Indiana, Miami, Portland and Seattle are awarded franchises to begin play in 2000. WNBA President Val Ackerman said Indiana made a strong case for a franchise based on the crowds the Pacers draw, the support for the Purdue University women's team, which won the 1999 national championship, and interest in girl's basketball at the high school and Amateur Athletic Union levels.

June 25, 1999
In its quest to sell 5,500 season tickets and officially secure a team in the WNBA, the organization sells its 1,000th season ticket to Dorothy Mengering, the mother of late-night talk show host David Letterman.

July 19, 1999
The tag line of "Buy the Tickets. Keep the Team" begins running in Indianapolis. The campaign was the centerpiece of the organization's efforts to attract the necessary 5,500 season ticket commitments by Oct. 15.

July 22, 1999
Kelly Krauskopf is hired as the team's first Chief Operating Officer. Krauskopf is the highest-ranking female front office executive at any of the city's professional sports franchises.

July 30, 1999
Indianapolis 500 veteran racecar driver Lyn St. James buys the 2,000th season ticket in the team's quest for 5,500. "When the WNBA was initially launched in 1997, I was actually surprised that Indianapolis, with its tremendous basketball tradition and the support that surrounds basketball here, was not one of the cities on the list," St. James said. "I am certainly pleased to see that Indianapolis has now been awarded a franchise, and I am confident that the team will be embraced by the loyal basketball fans in Indiana."

Aug. 13, 1999
Just a few days after he became the 22nd player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau, San Diego Padres' All-Star outfielder Tony Gwynn purchased the franchise's 3,000th season ticket. "I was glad to hear that Indiana was awarded a franchise," Gwynn said, who lives in Indianapolis during the offseason. "I have seen firsthand how kids look up to professional athletes. My wife and I are looking forward to the opportunity for our kids to watch these WNBA players, who are not only great athletes, but great role models."

Aug. 17, 1999
Although committed to the U.S. women's national team through the 2000 Olympic Games, Nell Fortner was named the team's first head coach. Fortner would join the team for the 2001 season following her Olympic commitment in the summer of 2000.

Aug. 27, 1999
Grammy Award-winning recording artist and Anderson native Sandi Patty buys the 4,500th season ticket in the team's quest for 5,500. "I have come to love and respect women's sports, and I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Indianapolis and the State of Indiana," Patty said. Also, the team announces its 2000 individual game ticket prices at a press conference at Market Square Arena. The average ticket price to attend a WNBA game at Conseco Fieldhouse would be $13, with prices ranging from $5 to $85.

Sept. 23, 1999
Former Indiana Pacers Head Coach Larry Bird buys the team's 5,000th season ticket. "I think Indiana's WNBA franchise will be a huge success, and I'm happy to be a part of helping to ensure that success," Bird said. "Indiana fans love their basketball, and I think they will embrace the WNBA team and the high quality of play it will bring to Indiana."

Oct. 1, 1999
Former U.S. Senator Birch Bayh buys the 5,500th season ticket, a purchase that enabled the franchise to meet the league's minimum goal two weeks ahead of schedule. Bayh was quoted as saying, "I have long believed that both our daughters and our sons need to experience the benefits that come with participating in sporting activities." Bayh introduced the 1972 Title IX law, which provided equal opportunities for female participation in athletics.

Oct. 20, 1999
Hall-of-Famer Anne Donovan is named the team's head coach for the 2000 season. Donovan will coach the team in the absence of Fortner, and would then become the team's lead assistant coach for the 2001 season upon Fortner's return.

Nov. 15, 1999
Indiana is awarded the first pick in the 2000 WNBA Expansion Draft in a random drawing at the WNBA League meetings when the team's designated ping-pong ball was the first out of the selection receptacle.

Dec. 15, 1999
In the 2000 WNBA Expansion Draft, Indiana selected Los Angeles guard Gordana Grubin with its first pick. In a second-round trade with Miami, Indiana acquired Purdue alum Stephanie McCarty from Charlotte. Other players acquired by the team were: Nyree Roberts from Washing-ton, Monica Maxwell from Washington, Kara Wolters from Houston, Rita Williams from Washington and Chan-tel Tremitiere from Utah.

Dec. 17, 1999
With 300 in attendance at the Arts Garden in Circle Centre Mall, Indiana unveils its team name and logo and Indiana Fever began spreading across the state. Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Donnie Walsh, Fever Chief Operating Officer Kelly Krauskopf, Fever Head Coach Anne Donovan, Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith and Stephanie McCarty spoke at the unveiling.

Apr. 25, 2000
Due to the WNBA Expansion Draft trade, the Fever did not have a first-round draft pick in the WNBA Draft. However, the Fever did choose Jurgita Streimikyte from Lithuania with the 26th pick overall in the second round. With the team's first pick in the third round (42nd overall), Indiana selected 5-11 forward Usha Gilmore from Rutgers University. In a late-draft trade, the Fever traded two fourth-round picks (50th and 58th overall) the Houston for Latavia Coleman (3rd round, 48th overall).

Apr. 28, 2000
Chris Denari was named the team's first radio and television play-by-play announcer.

Apr. 29, 2000
200-plus women came to Butler University's Hinkle Fieldhouse to the Fever's local tryouts in hopes of landing a spot on the 11-person Fever roster. After two days of basketball, one player, Texlin Quinney from Buffalo, N.Y., made the final cuts and found herself on the Fever's opening day roster.

May 1, 2000
Members of the media get their first glimpse of the new WNBA franchise as the morning begins with media day. Later that day, the team opens training camp and holds its first practice on Emmis Court in Conseco Fieldhouse.

May 10, 2000
The Fever opens its doors for the first time to the public as the team hosts an open practice on the main floor of Conseco Fieldhouse. Following the 40-minute practice session, Fever fans stayed seated to watch the Indiana Pacers vs. the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals. The game was broadcast live on the Conseco Fieldhouse scoreboard.

May 28, 2000
The inaugural season opening day roster is set as guard Gordana Grubin and center Danielle McCulley are placed on the injured list. The Fever's inaugural season roster includes: Usha Gilmore, Donna Harrington, Monica Maxwell, Stephanie McCarty, Texlin Quinney, Jurgita Streimikyte, Alicia Thompson, Chantel Tremitiere, Beverly Williams, Rita Williams and Kara Wolters.

June 1, 2000
The Fever take on the Miami Sol for its first regular season game in franchise history. The game was televised live on national television -- Lifetime Television. The Fever trailed most of the game, but a Rita Williams' three pointer with 2:48 to go gave the franchise its first lead and propelled the team to its first victory, 57-54.