Dream Secures Veteran Coaching Staff with Plank and Ciampi
Plank served as head coach of the Washington Mystics during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, guiding the Mystics to a 38-30 record. In 2010, she led the team to a franchise-best 22-12 record, and a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference for the only time in the team’s 15-year history.
“We are very pleased to have Julie join our staff,” said Dream head coach and general manager Fred Williams. “The experience and knowledge she has gained during many years coaching in the WNBA and in college will be invaluable to the Dream. She’s a proven winner, and we’re excited to have her on board.”
“I am extremely excited to be joining the Atlanta Dream organization,” said Plank. “I sincerely want to thank the Dream owners and executive team for this opportunity. I am very fortunate to be able to work with Fred, his staff, and certainly a talented group of players this summer. Fred has been a part of the Dream from the beginning, and I certainly respect what he and the team have already accomplished. I am looking forward to continuing the winning tradition established in Atlanta.”
Plank brings 25 years of coaching experience to the Dream, including 11 seasons in the WNBA. Prior to her stint with the Mystics, she spent the 2008 season as an assistant coach at Minnesota, and was assistant coach and director of scouting for eight seasons with the Indiana Fever, helping the team to four playoff appearances including two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Plank also served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1999 through the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and helped lead the U.S. to gold medal victories in the 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup and the 2000 Olympics.
Plank’s coaching career includes 10 years (1986-95) alongside Tara VanDerveer at Stanford University, where she assisted the Cardinal to eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments, four Final Four appearances and two NCAA championships (1990, 1992). Plank also served as the lead assistant coach at Vanderbilt University from 1997-99 and oversaw the school’s recruiting and scouting efforts. In 1998, she was ranked the fifth-best NCAA Division 1 assistant coach in the nation by Women’s Basketball Journal.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Plank attended Ohio State University where she was a three-year starter at point guard and helped lead the Buckeyes to a 23-5 record and the University’s first Big Ten Conference women’s basketball title in 1983.
Ciampi, who joined the staff for the 2012 season, is a highly-regarded defensive coach who made an immediate impact last year. Atlanta improved from allowing 80.8 points per game in 2011 to just 75.8 in 2012. Opponents shot 43.1 percent from the field against the Dream in 2011, but only 41.5 percent in 2012, which was third best in the league. Ciampi helped the team finish 19-15 overall in 2012 while reaching the WNBA Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
“Joe brings a wealth of basketball knowledge to the staff and the organization,” said Williams. “He has been a great mentor to our players, and has been instrumental in developing them both on and off the court. He is a defensive guru with an outstanding basketball mind, and his defensive concepts have proved invaluable in sustaining the winning brand of basketball our fans have come to expect. I’m excited to have him back as we look forward to a very successful season.”
Prior to joining the Dream, Ciampi spent 27 years as a head coach at the collegiate level for Auburn University and the U.S. Military Academy, posting an overall record of 607-213 (.740 winning percentage). A member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Ciampi was named National Coach of the Year in 1987, 1989 and 1993, and Southeastern Conference (SEC) Coach of the Year in 1985, 1988 and 1989.
In 25 seasons at Auburn, Ciampi guided the Tigers to 16 NCAA appearances, including three consecutive trips to the national championship game from 1988-90. Ciampi coached multiple players that excelled at the international level, including U.S. Olympians Ruthie Bolton, Vickie Orr and Carolyn Jones, as well as current Dream player Le’Coe Willingham.
The two-time Eastern Conference Champion Atlanta Dream will tip off its sixth season in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) on May 25 at Philips Arena. The Dream qualified for the playoffs in each of the past four seasons, including back-to-back conference titles in 2010 and 2011. Season tickets for the 2013 season are now available and can be purchased by calling (877) 977-7729 or visiting www.AtlantaDream.net. The complete 2013 schedule can be found at www.wnba.com/dream/schedule.