Sky Name Pokey Chatman Next General Manager and Head Coach
“Following the 2010 season I made a commitment to Sky fans to bring in a head coach and general manager with a proven record of winning at the highest level; someone who could establish a culture of excellence where winning is not only expected, but demanded,” said Alter.
“Pokey knows how to lead. She has demonstrated success at both the professional and college levels. She brings a deep knowledge of basketball combined with an intensity and commitment to winning that is among the very best in women’s basketball. Although demanding and driven, players respond positively to Pokey and I anticipate that her leadership will help the Sky become a championship team.”
As a head coach at the professional level Chatman led the Russian Spartak Moscow Region to a perfect 16-0 Euroleague record and the 2010 Euroleague Championship, the most prized championship in the most competitive European basketball league. On the season, Spartak averaged a 20-point margin of victory while scoring 87.5 points per game. Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles was second on Spartak in scoring at 14.1 points per game. Fowles also averaged 8.8 rebounds per game, a team-high. Sky guard Epiphanny Prince began the 2009-10 Euroleague season with Spartak before being loaned out to Botas Spor (Turkey). This season Prince will play the full year for Spartak, under Chatman.
Chatman was promoted to the head position after two seasons as an assistant. Spartak also won the Euroleague championship in both seasons. In addition to Fowles, Chatman has coached a host of perennial WNBA All-Stars while at Spartak including 2010 WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird from the Seattle Storm and the 2009 WNBA MVP Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury.
Chatman was officially named the fourth head coach in LSU women’s basketball history on April 26, 2004. As head coach Chatman took the Lady Tigers to consecutive NCAA Final Fours and won consecutive Southeastern Conference regular season titles. As Acting Head Coach Chatman coached in her first Final Four at the end of the 2003-04 season after Sue Gunter was forced to take a medical leave of absence midway through the season. Through her first 50 games as head coach, Chatman built a 47-3 record, the second best start to a coaching career in women’s basketball history.
For her achievements in the 2004-05 season Chatman was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year, Naismith National Coach of the Year and the Victor Award Female Coach of the Year. Chatman was an All-American point guard at LSU from 1987-1991. After that she served in a variety of capacities in the LSU basketball program.
In 2009, Chatman also coached the historically noncompetitive Slovakian National Team to within a free throw of qualifying for the World Championships.
“It’s a great honor to be named head coach and general manager of the Chicago Sky,” said Chatman. “It’s clear that my job is to come to Chicago and help turn the Sky into a winner. I’m confident that with the base of players we have here, that we will be able to achieve that goal.
“I’m looking forward to coaching in a city that has such a great basketball tradition and I’m excited to get in the gym and get to work with the talented athletes on the Sky roster.”