#Fever15 Moments: Lin Dunn Hired as Head CoachTweet
The Date: December 12, 2007
The Indiana Fever named Lin Dunn as the fourth head coach in franchise history in advance of the 2008 season. Dunn had spent the previous four seasons as an assistant with the Fever, but had extensive experience as a head coach at both the college and professional levels, compiling 525 wins and .600 career win percentage.
In the press release announcing Dunn's hiring, Fever general manager Kelly Krauskopf said: "It was important for us to hire someone who has head coaching experience and who understands what it takes to win in this league. Her career winning percentage and significant head coaching experience speak directly to that. She is a strong leader who is a proven winner with incredible basketball knowledge. I look forward to building a WNBA championship team with Lin."
Those words would turn out to be prophetic, as Dunn's hiring quickly proved to be the right decision. Since taking over the reins with the Fever, Dunn has led the franchise on an unprecedented run of success. Dunn has compiled a 119-85 record in the regular season, leading to a playoff appearance in each of her six seasons. Under Dunn's leadership, the Fever have reached the conference finals four times (including each of the last three), advanced to the WNBA Finals twice (2009 and 2012), and captured the first WNBA title in franchise history in 2012.
Dunn began her collegiate coaching career in 1970 at Austin Peay. In a 25-year career that included stops at Mississippi, Miami, and Purdue, Dunn compiled 447 wins and a .635 win percentage.
After stint with the American Basketball League's Portland Power, during which Dunn was named ABL Coach of the Year in 1998, Dunn became the first head coach and general manager for WNBA expansion franchise Seattle Storm in 1999. During her tenure in Seattle, Dunn built the Storm by drafting eventual league MVP Lauren Jackson and 2002 NCAA Player of the Year Sue Bird. In her final season in 2002, she led Seattle to its first WNBA Playoffs appearance and finished as runner-up in Coach of the Year voting.
Dunn served in a scouting capacity for the Fever during the 2003 season, then joined Indiana's staff as an assistant coach in 2004.
In her first year as head coach in 2008, Dunn guided the Fever back to the postseason for the fourth straight season. Indiana pushed eventual WNBA champion Detroit to three games in the first round, including an overtime road victory to avoid elimination in Game 2.
The next year, Dunn guided Indiana to its first-ever WNBA Finals appearance, finally beating Detroit in the conference finals, and finished runner-up in Coach of the Year voting.
Dunn led the Fever to 20 or more wins in each of the next three seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011 and guiding the Fever to a WNBA title in 2012. In the 2012 playoffs, Dunn's decision to move Erlana Larkins into the starting lineup paid huge dividends, and her leadership helped Indiana maintain focus after losing Katie Douglas and Jeanette Pohlen to injuries.
Perhaps Dunn's best coaching performance came in 2013. Though the Fever were devastated by injuries and lost seven straight games early in the season, Dunn helped right the ship. Due to the roster turmoil, Dunn reconfigured lineups and tried out players at new positions, helping the team string together enough wins to make the postseason for the ninth consecutive season. Her Fever squad finished with the league's best defense and upset top-seeded Chicago to reach the conference finals for the third straight year.
Lin Dunn is unquestionably the most successful coach in Fever franchise history, and her hiring certainly qualifies as one of the best moments in 15 years of WNBA basketball in Indianapolis.
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