College - William Paterson '59
Richie Adabuto became the head coach of the Washington Mystics on April 21, 2005. Prior to that, he has coached high school, college and the pros, including the NBA and his last held position as head coach of the New York Liberty.
Adubato guided the Liberty to a 100-79 record in five seasons as head coach, including back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships in 1999 and 2000, and a record-setting campaign last year.
In 2001, Adubato led the Liberty to a 21-11 (.656) mark and a second-place finish in the WNBA East, establishing franchise records for wins (21) and home victories (13). Adubato’s recharged Liberty offense led the WNBA in field goal percentage (.456), and finished second in three-point shooting (.380) and fourth in points per game (67.6). And for the first time in club history, the Liberty led the WNBA in average home attendance, with a mark of 15,660.
Guiding the Liberty into the WNBA Playoffs for the third time in as many seasons, Adubato piloted New York to a first-round triumph over Miami before a heartbreaking loss to Charlotte in the Conference Finals.
“Richie is one of the top coaches in the WNBA,” says senior vice president and general manager Carol Blazejowski. “He’s been a tremendous asset to our organization. With twenty years of pro experience, he’s a wonderful teacher, and he wants to win. He just wants to coach people, players, who want to play hard every night.”
In his first season at the Liberty helm, Adubato, 64, led the club to the 1999 Eastern Conference title following an 18-14 regular season. The following year, he piloted the Liberty to 13 wins in their last 16 games en route to a 20-12 mark and their second straight East crown, despite several injuries to key players as well as the retirement of Kym Hampton. That earned him the 2000 Professional Basketball Coach of the Year award from the New Jersey Sports Writers Association.
Richie’s success with the Liberty earned him the spot as head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the 2000 and 2001 WNBA All-Star Games.
He spent 19 years in the NBA, including stints as the head coach of the Detroit Pistons (1979-80), Dallas Mavericks (1989-90 to 1992-93) and Orlando Magic (1996-97), leading his teams to the NBA Playoffs twice. Adubato served as a Knicks assistant coach under Hubie Brown for four seasons (1982-83 through 1985-86). He also enjoyed stints as an assistant coach with Detroit, Dallas, Cleveland and Orlando, and as a scout for Atlanta. Prior to joining the Liberty, Adubato was a special consultant for the Boston Celtics in 1997-98.
Before entering the NBA, Adubato spent 18 years as a high school and college coach in New Jersey, compiling a sparkling overall record of 290-85 (.773). Ironically, he would coach both Brian Hill and Mike Fratello in New Jersey, then would serve on each of their staffs as an NBA assistant coach.
Adubato earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as doctoral credits, in administration from William Paterson University, where he captained both the basketball and baseball teams. A standout first baseman on the 1959 William Paterson team that won the NAIA World Series, he was a 1991 inductee into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame for basketball and baseball.
Adubato was born in Irvington, New Jersey on November 23, 1937, and in 1989 married the former Carol Begerow. His is the father of three: Beth and his two sons Scott, and Adam. He also has one grandchild, Beth’s daughter Allegra.