Thorn Returns to New York in a Different Role

New York, NY - December 6, 2005 - It has been three months since the Liberty season ended, but last week Erin Thorn was back in New York looking for some tough basketball competition. Only this time, the Liberty vet was dressed up and on the sideline, not in uniform and on the hardwood. And instead of Madison Square Garden, she was holding court at Pritchard Gym and Walsh Gym. You see, for Thorn, the conclusion of the WNBA season does not mean the end of basketball. Instead, it just means a change of venue. After lacing up her high-tops for the Liberty in the summer, she heads back to Provo, Utah to serve as an assistant coach for Brigham Young University's women's basketball team. This past week, Thorn returned to the Tri-State Area as the Cougars made an East Coast swing to play at Stony Brook and Seton Hall.

A 2003 BYU graduate, Thorn is now in her second year on the Cougar sideline. So when the WNBA season is over, she heads back to her alma mater and gets to work on another basketball season. And with a year of experience now under her belt, there comes additional responsibility. According to Thorn, her second year is different than her first in that “I have a lot more responsibility this year. A lot of the travel that we do this year I take care of. Also, last year, it was more unofficial, come and go, do what I please. This year there's just much more to it.”

Thorn has spent three seasons playing in New York for the Liberty. So now when her BYU team made the trek from Utah to New York, did everyone think she would be the Big Apple expert? "Yes - and they are so wrong!" But, with a few days in the area, Thorn did serve as tour guide for her team. “I have been showing the girls whatever they wanted to see, like Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty. And they're going shopping tonight, so they're having fun.”

Being on the road as a coach with BYU has been different for Thorn than the customary days of traveling as a player with the Liberty - the coaches have to do all the work. “As a coach you are working constantly on the road, while the players get to do all these fun things. And while it is still fun for me, it is also stressful because everything is my responsibility, and I am making sure that we are getting to where we are supposed go on time.”

A road warrior herself, Thorn can help her players prepare for their time away from home. Although, maybe the road isn't so bad afterall. “ I think it is almost easier on the road for college kids just because they do not have to worry about school. There are no other distractions, they are together as a team, and our team gets along well, so sometimes the road is better off for us.” That was evident this week, as BYU won both its games here in New York, increasing the team's perfect record to 5-0. Hopefully Thorn will continue that winning record the next time she's back in New York - playing for the Liberty.

Erin Thorn advises a player.

Coach Thorn watches intently from the sideline.