Whisenant and Thibault Named 2006 WNBA All-Star Coaches

NEW YORK, NY (June 27, 2006) – The WNBA announced today that the head coaches for the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game will be 2005 WNBA Coach of the Year John Whisenant of the Sacramento Monarchs and Mike Thibault of the Connecticut Sun. Whisenant guided Sacramento to the WNBA title a year ago while Thibault led his team to the Finals after the Sun won their second consecutive Eastern Conference Championship.

Whisenant will lead the Western All-Star squad and Thibault will be at the helm of the Eastern Conference team. WNBA All-Star head coaches are selected on the basis of their team’s finish as Conference Champions the previous season.

The 2006 WNBA All-Star Game will be hosted by the New York Liberty on Wednesday, July 12 at Madison Square Garden. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

"I'm happy to be representing the Monarchs and the Western Conference as their Head Coach for the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game," said Monarchs Head Coach and General Manager John Whisenant. "It was an unselfish team that I coached that won the Championship and I hope to bring that same style of play to the All-Star game."

''I'm excited to be coaching the East All Stars again this year," said Sun Head Coach Mike Thibault. "If we can put on the same show for the fans that we did last year, then I think the whole world will see women's basketball at its very best."

Whisenant’s assistants will be Tom Abatemarco, Monique Ambers and Steve Shuman, all who helped lead the Monarchs to the title a year ago. Scott Hawk and Bernadette Mattox, fourth year assistants under Thibault with the Sun, will serve as assistant coaches for the Eastern Conference squad.

Starters for the WNBA All-Star Game will be determined by fan balloting which began on May 28. The nationwide second return voting results reflect fans making their All-Star selections during special in-arena balloting nights and by going online to WNBA.com.

The WNBA All-Star Balloting Program presented by T-Mobile and AOL.com was conducted through June 25. The list of starters will be announced by the WNBA on Wednesday, July 5. Reserve players will subsequently be selected by the League’s Eastern and Western Conference head coaches and announced by the league on Saturday, July 8.

With tickets starting at $10, fans can enjoy the unique experience of seeing the WNBA’s superstars together in the league’s special event in The World’s Most Famous Arena. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster Retail Locations, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-877-WNBA-TIX. Tickets are also available for purchase at Madison Square Garden’s Box Office, through WNBA.com and at the NBA Store in New York.

The WNBA All-Stars will be extremely visible in New York during the All-Star break as the league will host a number of on and off-court activities, including community initiatives and interactive events that are open to the public FREE of charge. Foremost among those will be the 2006 WNBA All-Star Summer Jam, the league’s free interactive basketball festival, and the WNBA All-Star Legacy project, which serves as the centerpiece of the WNBA’s community outreach efforts in the All-Star host city and leaves a lasting and positive impression for the community. Details for all surrounding events will be announced at a later date.

About the WNBA

Featuring 14 teams and the greatest female basketball players from around the world, the WNBA is the longest-running and most successful women’s professional team sports league in U.S. history. The league’s historic 10th Anniversary season, which tipped off on Saturday, May 20, features significant interactivity with fans who will play a key role in selecting the league’s All-Decade Team, the WNBA’s Greatest Moments and the starters for the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game set to take place on July 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York City (live on ESPN at 7:30 ET). The WNBA’s "10 Years of Caring" initiative, which tipped off during the week of May 8, is another way in which the league is celebrating its milestone season. The "10 Years of Caring" platform, which underscores the continued commitment of WNBA teams and players to the communities in which they live and play, will see all 14 teams active in their respective markets, engaging with fans in a variety of programs throughout the year.

The WNBA’s 10th Anniversary season includes appointment viewing on Tuesday nights as ESPN2 will televise 14 WNBA games – including five doubleheaders – on Tuesdays this spring/summer. WNBA games and programming also will be shown in 198 countries via 79 telecasters in 34 languages this season.