Joining Liberty a Dream Come True for Whisenant

After being out of basketball for the last 11 months, John Whisenant finds himself in a dream job.

On Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the former leader of the Sacramento Monarchs will be the first person in Liberty history to hold a dual position as head coach and general manager of the team, putting him completely in control of all New York’s basketball operations.

“The only disadvantage I see is I don’t have anybody to blame if anything goes wrong,” said Whisenant. “I can’t blame the coach and I can’t blame the GM because I’m both of them. I have control of the basketball destiny of the New York Liberty. I have to select players and I have to coach the players. And if we’re not successful it’s my job to make the corrections so that we are successful.”

Whisenant’s resume already proves his success in the game. He brings more than 30 years of basketball experience to New York, including a WNBA championship with the Sacramento Monarchs and Coach of the Year honors in 2005. He’s coached men and women on both the college and pro levels. And he has won 61 percent of his regular-season games as a WNBA head coach with Sacramento.

“John is a proven winner with tremendous experience and an impressive resume,” said Scott O’Neil, president of MSG Sports. “Liberty fans will appreciate how hard the team will play on both ends of the court, and enjoy the continuation of the journey to build a team that will bring a title to New York."

Growing up in Oklahoma Whisenant couldn’t have imagined working in the greatest basketball city in the world. But after the Monarchs folded prior to the 2010 season, Whisenant was in a position to start searching for another job and found an opportunity with the Liberty, who made it to the WNBA Eastern Conference Finals last season.

“This is the best job in the world for me,” he said. “It couldn’t have worked out better. When I saw Anne (Donovan) was leaving to go back to college, just the thought of maybe being selected in New York excited me.”

Whisenant watched two or three WNBA games a night during the summer from his home computer as he waited for a call from a team. Now, he’s thinking of ways to improve the Liberty through the draft and free agency. He will then coach that roster and hopefully complete a championship run next season.

“I evaluate my own players in the offseason, I do my own scouting with my staff and we do our own selection,” he said. “The coaching part is coaching. You just got to roll up your sleeves.”

While Whisenant is impressed with the roster that is being handed over to him - praising players such as Cappie Pondexter, Kia Vaughn and Nicole Powell, who he coach in Sacramento, during his introductory press conference - he still believes there are more pieces that need to be added this offseason.

“To move forward you have to get new stuff,” Whisenant said. “We’ve got to try to improve our roster. We’ve got to add good players, as many as possible without giving up good players. That’s hard to do, but you can do it with either the draft or free agency.

“You just have to get your hands in there and do the work. You have to know the league, and I think I know the league. I’m familiar with the players’ backgrounds. I know the opposing general managers. And we’ll just have to try to make our team better. I think there’s a team there with the potential to make the playoffs, the Eastern Conference Championship and win the championship.”

The Liberty are in good hands moving forward.