College - Tennessee-Martin
The fourth head coach in Indiana Fever history, Lin Dunn is also the winningest coach in franchise history, boasting a five-year record of 103-67 (.606) with the 2012 WNBA championship as the finest accomplishment in a distinguished 42-year coaching career.
Already regarded as one of the most successful women’s basketball coaches in history, Dunn has led the Fever to three trips to the conference finals and a pair of appearances in the WNBA Finals. Including three years as head coach of the Seattle Storm, Dunn ranks eighth in regular season coaching wins (136-130, .511) in WNBA history and sixth in postseason victories (18-16, .529). Her current streak of five straight WNBA Playoffs appearances matches Seattle’s Brian Agler with the longest active streak in the league.
Dunn is well-chronicled as one of the nation’s foremost pioneers of women’s basketball and one of its most prominent coaches and leaders, she has been a proven winner at both the college and pro levels, evidenced by three hall of fame inductions in 2010 and another in 2012.
Dunn’s coaching career preceded the passing of Title IX legislation in the 1970s. Her storied career includes trips to the NCAA Final Four and the WNBA Finals. A native of Dresden, Tenn., she was named to the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 19, 2010. She was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on April 24, 2010. She was inducted into her alma mater’s athletics hall of fame at UT-Martin on Oct. 16, 2010. She was named to the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame on April 14, 2012.
A longtime college coach and former general manager and head coach of the Seattle Storm, Dunn returned to her position as head coach when she was named to guide the Fever on Dec. 12, 2007, shedding the assistant’s title she had worn the previous four seasons.
Now, after five seasons as head coach of the Fever, she boasts 646 college and pro wins, including the WNBA postseason. During 36 seasons as head coach, she has coached 1,079 games.
In addition to the elusive WNBA crown she won in 2012, she has guided the Fever to a No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs in 2009 and 2011, and her first WNBA Finals appearances in 2009 and 2012.
Dunn was the runner-up in coach of the year balloting in 2009, after a summer with the WNBA’s best record from June through August, and a franchise-record 22 regular season wins. The 2009 club was within minutes of the championship and her 2011 Fever finished one win from another return to the Finals.
Dunn’s coaching resume includes four decades of coaching at the highest levels – the past 15 years in the professional ranks, between stints in Portland, Seattle and Indiana.
Dunn served in a scouting capacity for the Fever and former coach Nell Fortner during the 2003 season, and was added to the Fever staff in 2004 – allowing her to remain close to her Tennessee roots. She completed four seasons as an assistant coach, the final three which saw Indiana match its franchise record with identical 21-13 records.
Before joining the Fever, Dunn served as Seattle’s first head coach and general manager, operating the city’s expansion franchise from 1999 to 2002. She built the Storm by drafting eventual league MVP Lauren Jackson and 2002 NCAA Player of the Year Sue Bird. In her final year with the Storm, 2002, she guided Seattle to a 17-15 record and the club’s first appearance in the WNBA Playoffs. Dunn was runner-up as the WNBA’s Coach of the Year.
Dunn’s first assignment in professional basketball came with a midseason phone call to take over the coaching reigns of the American Basketball League’s Portland Power during its inaugural campaign in 1996-97. She won her first game on the same night she was introduced as the head coach. A year later, Dunn led the Power on a worst-to-first run that culminated with a 27-17 record and a Western Conference championship. The remarkable turnaround earned Dunn the ABL Coach of the Year honor while guiding such stars as DeLisha Milton-Jones, Sonja Henning, Elaine Powell and former Fever center and two-time ABL MVP Natalie Williams. Portland was in first place at 9-4 when the ABL ceased operations two days before Christmas in 1998.
Her tenure in Portland not only continued the coaching success she has achieved at every level of her career, but also enhanced her profile off the court. In the fledgling league that preceded the WNBA, Dunn’s charisma helped the Power to achieve the largest marketing revenue in the ABL and its second-highest attendance.
She is perhaps best known as the architect of the Purdue University women’s basketball program, guiding the Boilermakers for nine seasons (1988-96) and collecting three Big Ten conference titles. She led the Old Gold-and-Black to seven NCAA Tournaments, four Sweet Sixteen appearances and a trip to the Final Four in 1994. In nine years at Purdue, she earned a 206-68 (.752) record and catapulted the school among the elite women’s basketball programs in the country. She still is the program’s winningest coach.
Dunn coached and recruited three Kodak All-Americans, three Big Ten Players of the Year and two Big Ten Athletes of the Year. Future WNBA stars that emerged from her tenure at Purdue were Summer Erb, Ukari Figgs, Stacey Lovelace, Michelle VanGorp and former Fever star Stephanie White.
Since her collegiate coaching career began at Austin Peay in 1970, she put together a remarkable 25-year record that includes a .635 career winning percentage at four schools (447-257). She left three of those schools – Purdue, Miami and Austin Peay – as the winningest coach in program history.
On the national level, she served on USA Basketball staffs for the 1992 Olympics and 1990 gold medal-winning World Championship and Goodwill Games teams. She was head coach of the 1995 bronze medal-winning USA Jones Cup team, and also served for eight years on the USA Basketball Team selection committee.
Prior to arriving in West Lafayette, she coached at Miami, Fla., from 1979-87. She posted a 149-119 (.556) record through eight seasons and was the first coach to award a scholarship to a women’s basketball player. One of the last players she recruited, Frances Savage, was a Kodak All-American in 1992. She was named the Florida Coach of the Year in 1980-81.
After building a program at Austin Peay for five years, Dunn spent one season at Mississippi before taking the Miami job. She led the Rebels to a 25-15 record and a 12th-place finish at the AIAW National Tournament. Her club ended three-time national champion Delta State’s 56-game winning streak and was named the Mississippi Coach of the Year.
Dunn also has earned induction into the athletic halls of fame at both Miami and Austin Peay. She served as chair of the Kodak All-America Selection Committee from 1982-88 and was president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in 1984-85.
Dunn earned a B.S. degree in health, physical education and English from Tennessee-Martin. A year later, she received an M.S. degree in physical education from Tennessee-Knoxville.