Meet the Storm Coaching Network

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Jeremy Repanich, special to | March 11, 2008
Five trips to the post-season in eight years of existence, two players named to the WNBA All-Decade team and one WNBA championship. With those numbers, there is little debate that the Seattle Storm has fostered a tradition of excellence on the court. However, another number - 11 - has also emerged, signaling the rise of a tradition of excellence on the sidelines as well. 11 one-time Storm players currently serve as coaches or administrators in the college ranks.

From Stanford and Cal to Kentucky and West Virginia, former Storm players have spread out to universities across the country to teach the next generation of players about the game, the WNBA and about life. These coaches call on lessons they learned in the league and relationships they cultivated while with the Storm to expand their own knowledge of the game and to make them more effective coaches. They also cross paths, like Stanford's Kate Paye and Cal's Charmin Smith, who squared off against each other last night for the Pac-10 Tournament title. (Paye's No. 4 Cardinal squad won 56-35.)

Kate Paye's Stanford squad won Pac-10 regular-season and tournament championships.
Courtesy Stanford Athletic Department
Through their time in college, the WNBA and especially with the Storm, the 11 coaches have been exposed to some of the best minds in women’s basketball and they’ve reaped the rewards to become themselves, more effective teachers of the game. Long-time Storm center Simone Edwards, in her first year as an assistant at Radford, acknowledges the benefit of receiving great coaching to her development as a coach.

"I’ve been coached some of the best coaches out there," says Edwards, "starting with Vivian Stringer, Lin Dunn and Anne Donovan, who is one of the best post coaches out there. So you take from all of those coaches and it helps a lot when you are teaching the game."

Just as important as the knowledge Storm coaches have handed down to their former players is the discipline they instilled in these players. Taking the work ethic they learned while with the Storm, they can teach their college players from experience the hard work necessary to get to the next level. Jaime Redd, a first-year coach at PLU, believes that at its core, when you play for the Storm, “You get after it and you work hard and I think that carries over into an individual’s attitude when they become a coach as well.”

However, these players’ time with the Storm could not completely prepare them for the devotion needed to excel as a coach. As someone who becomes a parent for the first time gains a new respect for their own parents, many of these former players turned coaches now see their past coaches in a whole new light. For these players, with the new position came a new understanding of what it takes to be a coach.

“Now that I’m in it and I understand the commitment, the dedication and the sacrifice that all coaches make in order to make their players better, it’s something that I really appreciate,” explains Smith, who spent the franchise's first two years of existence with the Storm.

Helping ease this transition from playing to coaching for these former Storm members has been the social network a life in basketball has afforded them. They keep in contact with past teammates and coaches to continually share their thoughts about the game. Through their exchange of ideas they better themselves as coaches and maintain relationships which will continue to aide them into the future.

Redd finds this network to be invaluable as she begins her coaching career.

“I’m only a phone call away from anybody and I don’t hesitate," she says. "I’m like a sponge and I want to learn, so I try to gain as much knowledge as possible.”

The thirst for knowledge and desire to improve as coaches is a commonality amongst the ex-Storm assistants. Just as during their playing days they exhibited an ambition which carried them to the highest level of women’s basketball, this same ambition is what drives them as coaches. These women hope to not only excel as assistants but to one day run their own programs as head coaches at a the Division I level or in the WNBA. And with the knowledge, discipline and relationships gleaned from their time with the Storm they have begun with a solid foundation on which to build their coaching careers.

As March Madness consumes the nation over the next several weeks, we will present interviews with each of the former Storm players now in the college ranks to offer Storm fans a glimpse into how the players managed their transition from the court to the sideline. The players will also share how they are maturing as coaches and offer up their favorite Storm memories. Check back for more.

Michelle Edwards
Dir of BB Ops
Simone Edwards
Trina Frierson
Northwestern State (Louis.)
Michelle Marciniak
South Carolina
Wendy Palmer
Kate Paye
Semeka Randall
West Virginia
Jamie Redd
Charmin Smith
Katy Steding
Warner Pacific (Portland)
Head Coach
Quacy (Barnes) Timmons
Eastern Illinois