November 2008

Thursday, November 27th - The Pass the Ball Blog is off enjoying turkey and family time today and tomorrow. Greg Bibb will return with an entry next Thursday, December 4. From the entire Washington Mystics organization, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26th - Michael Ragan wishes all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Hello Mystics Fans,

Thankfully the holiday time is upon us and I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I am very excited to be heading down to Palm Beach to see my parents whom I haven’t seen in a while. I was given a great gift last week when a sales rep I helped get into the industry, got a full time job with the Miami Dolphins, offered me two FREE tickets to the Madonna concert at Dolphin Stadium this Wednesday. I am happy for my wife that she gets to see Madonna (after Holiday and Get Into the Groove, I’m kind of lost!!), but what I am the most thankful for is that someone appreciates something I did for them and wanted to give me something back, makes you feel good!!

When I am sitting around the table this Thursday, besides my family, friends and health, I will be giving thanks for the people that come to work every day and give me their all. This is not an easy time to be trying to sell anything, especially in this economy, and having done the job for five years I know what they are going through. They come in every day, work hard, go home and have to come in and do it all again. So to all the people on my staff, thank you for everything you do, it is appreciated even if I don’t convey it every day. Happy Thanksgiving to them and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Look forward to chatting soon!

Mike

Tuesday, November 25th - Liz Sellers introduces herself to the Mystics faithful.

Hey Mystics Fans,

It’s a first blog alert!

My name is Liz Sellers and I have recently joined the Mystics Front Office as Corporate Partnerships Coordinator. After relocating to the DC area from Buffalo, NY in June, I thought the warm summer weather would be a nice change from Buffalo winters but wow, was it hot! I have to say, I like the cooler temperatures plus I LOVE hot chocolate so now that the weather has become colder I have an excuse to drink it all the time!

My first few weeks with the Mystics Family have been very exciting. Our GM Angela Taylor recently joined the team and during my first week our Head Coach Julie Plank was announced. With these fabulous additions, preparations for the 2009 season are officially underway! I anticipate a great Mystics season and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for this opportunity.

I look forward to next time…

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Liz

Monday, November 24th - Sarah Novak talks about the energy in the Mystics office.

It feels like forever since I have been on the rotation for this Mystics blog. So many changes have taken place since I have last blogged; from the announcement of Angela and Julie to the addition of new staff members to programs that we are implementing for the '09 season. The office is buzzing with talks of current Season Ticket Holders trusting that the organization is moving in the right direction and renewing for their '09 season tickets and also with new Season Ticket Holders joining the Mystics Family. The excitement and energy that is in this office now is amazing.

As for the personal side to my life; by the time this blog is posted I will be camping in Wyoming. I know what you are thinking “Sarah in a tent???” yes it is happening!! My cousin Andrew lives in Wyoming! And he is taking me camping for the very first time in my life. Needless to say it is going to be very comical, interesting and cold. Fingers crossed that I won’t come across any hungry bears! We are not camping for the whole week just two days but it is still two days that I will be out in the wilderness, a place where I believe I should never go unless there is a lodge and a spa. It should be even more interesting because my cousin lives out there with a few people that we went to High School with and they are all good old country boys! They will also be camping with us and all of their girlfriends and fiancés. It will be a fabulous time, I do however have my reservations about the wilderness! The other few days I plan on skiing and doing some retail therapy!

I wish all of you a happy and full turkey day!

S~

Friday, November 21st - Krystal Vaughn shares her Greek experience.

Hey what’s up Friends and Fans of the WNBA!

This was my first year in the WNBA and ever leaving the country to play basketball. I am very excited to say I am playing in Thessaloniki, Greece for the Megas Alexandros team. When I arrived here on the 23rd of September it was definitely a blessing. First of all, my first flight was seven hours from Dulles Airport to Munich Airport in Germany. Sadly enough, I missed my connecting flight by four hours to Thessaloniki, Greece, which is six hours from Munich. So I had to wait for the next flight and it didn’t leave until 5pm that evening. I sat in the airport for an additional seven hours when all I had to do was wait up 2 hours and sleep on the flight to Greece. Yeah I know that was very smart of me! When I arrived at 2 am the President was too happy. The poor old man was worried sick. He hugged me like I was his long lost daughter. I was like: Wow! Could you believe he sent out a missing person report to the airport in Munich? I was so embarrassed. I felt like I was a victim on the Nancy Grace Show. lol

Anyway! I been having the time of my life, enjoying the Greek culture, picking up on the Greek language, cheering for Obama and getting the experience I need at the guard position (3). Oh and trying to keep the drivers from hitting me with their cars and motorcycles. They are all over the road. My teammates are very fun and loving. They think I am crazy because I am always laughing and being silly. And of course I am the best dancer in the world! Just ask my dancers in training: Shay Murphy and Crystal Smith. (Alana and Kia, just keep trying eventually dancing will be your thing). Greece is much different, of course than the United States, but I am comfortable and have adjusted very quickly, I guess.

My first week I was off the chain! Homesick and hungry! All I did was practice, eat, sleep and lift weights. My first game I had 37 points and 11 rebounds. I tried to get my dunk on, but the girl fouled me so hard my ears were ringing! (Yes I can dunk for all who didn’t know that). After that, it was on! (I promise I didn’t run anyone over but for those who know Krystal Vaughn, can see, my bottom lip was poked out the rest of the game and I had my crazy face). After two weeks I was forced to go home due to the death of my mother but when I returned the homesickness went away.

I have been smiling a lot. My favorite thing to do is watch the sun rise by the sea in this small restaurant/lounge. It’s beyond beautiful. I drink plenty of coffee and chill. I got to get my old lady on…. I just have to make sure I leave out the front door because the dogs out the back would probably love to chase me to my house! I’m safe though, trust me!

The best gift I received was the Magic Jack. My teammate Dre from the Mystics gave it to me as a rookie gift before I left the U.S. I can call anywhere in the U.S. for free and I had the opportunity to create my own US number. It’s the best! I can stay connected to friends and family as if I was home. I recommend the magic jack to travelers.

I will be coming home for Christmas to be with my thousands of sisters and brothers. I really can’t wait! I miss my little sisters so much. And I can’t wait to catch the Greyhound to France to see my favorite teammate BMO (Bernice Mosby) lol. Again, I’m having a good time and staying focused.

A special thanks to the Mystics, my friends and fans for their support when I lost my mother. God bless AND REMEMBER: Through God all things are possible.

K.V.

Thursday, November 20th - Greg Bibb checks in.

Welcome back!

I missed sharing my thoughts through this space last week, but I did enjoy reading Coach Plank’s words…she is going to be an awesome addition to the Mystics family. I’m really excited about our new basketball leadership and where they are going to take us. They have been here all week, locked in an office, working hard at assembling a coaching staff, reviewing players and discussing our options for the 2009 WNBA Draft.

Speaking of the draft, I’m hopeful we’ll hear something about the draft lottery selection process by the end of the month. It would be great if we could land the first or second pick. Along with the #10 overall selection (acquired via a trade with the LA Sparks), we’ll have two top 10 picks to go along with a pair of second round choices and a pick in round three. While most pundits will tell you the 2009 draft class isn’t the deepest in recent memory, I still like our chances of dramatically improving our team with five picks. When it comes to drafts, volume is good.

Parity Reigns Supreme

While the draft class may not be deep in 2009, parity in the women’s game seems to be stronger than ever. During the first week of the season, both Maryland and Tennessee suffered a loss. Most experts are picking UConn to dominate the women’s game this year. I can’t say I disagree with this thought, but I do believe outside of the Huskies, we will be seeing a lot of “upsets” as we head through the season. Watch out for those Marist Red Foxes!

I can’t believe the NCAA season has already begun and that we are staring at Thanksgiving next week. The start of the WNBA season is now just 28 weeks away, but who’s counting?

Mystics Special Event

On a separate note, I would like to thank all of the Mystics season ticket holders who attended our special Meet the GM & Head Coach event on Monday night. The evening was held to provide an opportunity for 2008 season ticket holders who had not yet renewed their seats for 2009 an opportunity to meet Mystics GM Angela Taylor and Coach Plank. Following remarks by both women, there was an open forum Q&A where Angela and Julie answered questions from those in attendance.

I particularly enjoyed the event because it provided our fans an intimate setting to get to know Angela and Julie. I think most people came away from the evening with a better understanding of our direction as a team and what we hope to accomplish in 2009.

Holiday Pack

The Mystics will be offering a special Holiday Pack during the month of December. This one-of-a-kind opportunity provides a packet of 2009 Mystics ticket vouchers (either six or 10) and a Mystics fleece pullover jacket. The Holiday Pack provides you total flexibility with your vouchers…use one for six games or all six for one, you decide. Holiday Packs start at just $92, so give us a call to reserve yours today!

Welcome New Staffers

Since I last wrote a non-team related blog, we have added several individuals to the Mystics front office:

Steven Lawhorn joined the organization as Manager of Corporate Partnerships.
Elizabeth Sellers came on board as Coordinator of Corporate Partnerships.
Taryn Bushrod started as our Receptionist.
Danielle Vaughn joined the team as a Ticket Sales Account Executive.

Welcome to Steven, Elizabeth, Taryn and Danielle!

Quote of the Week

“If you think what you did yesterday was big, you’re not trying hard enough today.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• It has been nearly two weeks and I still can’t believe Penn State lost to Iowa.

• I also have a hard time saying the phrase, “Philadelphia Phillies…World Champions.”

• I had the chance to see the Cirque Du Soleil’s show “KOOZA” the other week at National Harbor and I highly recommend it…the performances are remarkable and very entertaining.

• The Wizards have struggled a bit early, but I really like JaVale McGee. I think he is going to be a big-time player.

• Is it me, or has the fall television season been really, really bad?

The blog will take a vacation day next Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’ll be back on Thursday, December 4. Happy Turkey Day!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, November 19th - Mystics Rookie Danielle Vaughn introduces herself.

Happy Hump Day Mystics Family!

Allow me to introduce myself….I’m officially the newest member of the Mystics family and I’m thrilled to be a part of this warm hospitable group of people. I am Danielle Vaughn and I moved here for this wonderful career all the way from Charlotte NC…GO PANTHERS!!!! Ironically today marks the 30th day of my fresh start in this amazing city. I'm an advocate for women's sports and can hardly wait til the season opens in 2009!! Although it's only been 30 days since my arrival, I have had the wonderful opportunity of meeting true dedicated Mystics supporters at our recent Meet the GM and Head Coach event. You have increased my excitement just by expressing your comittment and concerns in regards to growing our team. I am energized by your passion and desire to continue supporting us. What an exciting time for CHANGE and HOPE for our future. I feel this will be the best year ever! I look forward to personally meeting and getting to know more of you wonderful fans! FYI....I am open to suggestions for meeting new people, seeing new things, and going to new places. So please feel free to shoot me an email with your favorite restaurants and must go see and do activities. I'm open to exploring and trying new things. We are only limited by our imagination!

Thanks for your time and I look forward to chatting with you!!!!!!!!

Danielle

Tuesday, November 18th - Angela Taylor compares Barack Obama and Julie Plank.

Hey Mystics Fans,

This has been a very exciting month in Washington, DC as two 47 year olds begin their journey to bring “CHANGE” to their respective industries. Yes, I am proud to mention Barack Obama and Julie Plank in the same sentence!

November 6th was an incredible day as we embarked on laying the foundation for the future of this championship organization, which started with naming Julie Plank as our head coach. Julie is someone who embodies what we want the Mystics organization to represent…strong work ethic and a blue collar mentality. We have been blessed with an incredible ownership group led by Ted and Sheila. Out of respect for their commitment and leadership, it was critical to select someone who embraces hard work, knows how to win, and shares the same philosophy as our organization.

We found that in Julie who will show our players that they can have a lot of fun while outworking their opponents by bringing effort, focus, and discipline everyday.

In my short time with this organization, it is quite evident that we are surrounded by a talented group of individuals on the business side who believe in this organization. In fact, in just one year, Greg has distinguished himself as one of the best executives in the league. When we underperformed on the court last year, his team over performed on the business side, which is illustrated and quantified by what he and his staff were able to accomplish last year with over a 10% increase in attendance. We want to replicate that success on the basketball court. That is my definition of a successful organization…excellence both on and off of the court!

The college season is already underway, the free agency period is around the corner, we are planning a trip to visit our players over in Europe, and Julie is working on putting a top-notch staff together. So the work has begun, and we look forward to keeping you informed of any exciting news as it happens.

Before I go, let me send a shout out to Shay Murphy over in Spain. I was hoping to be able to rub in another Cardinal victory over the USC football team from this past weekend. But after a competitive first half, the mighty Cardinal just couldn’t pull off another upset. There is no doubt that Shay has been warming up her vocal chords in Spain preparing to sing the Trojan chant “Victory” the next time we talk. Can’t wait to hear that!

Go Mystics,

Angela

Monday, November 17th - Nicole Jones looks forward to Thanksgiving.

Hello Mystics Fans!

I hope this finds you doing well. It’s about that time of year again and I’m so excited. Next week marks the annual American tradition of Thanksgiving. Usually, this entails a large preparation of your favorite foods, a whole day of family (immediate and distant), and football.

This year, my mother decided to make a change in plans about a month ago and actually have Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Now again, this was not the original plan. But during a persuasive conversation, she was convinced to go ahead and host this year’s festivity. “What’s the big deal?” you may ask. Well, for me, that means even more cooking and cleaning than originally anticipated. You never know who may stop by, even though they didn’t RSVP to the invitation.

I’m a lot like my Mom in that we try to please everyone. “This one’s coming, and they LOVE xyz, so we need to have this item on the menu. That one doesn’t like xyz, so we need two versions of this dish.” And I could go on and on. But trust and believe, I am learning more and more about how not to care as much. I don’t mean it in a negative way. Just that, you simply cannot please everyone and I’m finally starting to accept that. The challenge is convincing my Mom.

But I digress. This year’s Thanksgiving is going to be even more special as we will have everyone together for the first time ever. Hopefully, this includes distant relatives whom have never been around for any “traditional” family holiday. I’m both excited and anxious about it. I have so much to be thankful for this year and this will be just a small part. So, from my family to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

My quote of the week:

This holiday season, we are reminded that the things that unite us as a people are more powerful and enduring than anything that sets us apart. We all have a stake in each other, in something larger than ourselves.
~ President-Elect, Barack Obama

Friday, November 14th - Lauren Lafayette says there is no place like home.

Over the last few months I have gradually become accustomed to the DC way of life; however, there is nothing like going home for me. And last week my strong desire to make it back home turned into an impromptu road trip to the Wolverine state.

While fall has never been my favorite season, my return home during this particular time of the year was nothing short of amazing. In addition to spending time with much missed friends and family members, I was able to go to the cider mill with some friends to get some fresh apple cider and doughnuts. Although I have been to this seasonal event numerous times throughout my life, I never really thought much about its significance in my life growing up in the Midwest until last week. Just the taste of the hot doughnuts and cold apple cider was enough to bring me back to elementary school days.

Although this wholesome family oriented activity occupied most of my Saturday afternoon, most of my evenings were spent frequenting some of my favorite nightclub hotspots, meeting new people and catching up with old friends. Unlike the District, clubs and other venues do not close until after 3 am which allowed me to maximize the short amount of time I had in Michigan. Once the doors of the club closed, the night was not over yet. Immediately, we were off to our favorite 24 hour diner (Coney Island) for a late night snack before calling it a night.

All in all, I had a wonderful trip home. Detroit gets such a bad wrap in the media but I guarantee you, one trip to the cider mill and a dose of the Midwestern hospitality will forever change your mind about this forgotten city.

Well, until next time friends have a good holiday season and looking forward to seeing you in the spring!!!!!

Lauren

Thursday, November 13th - Julie Plank introduces herself to Mystics fans.

Hey Mystics fans!

Now that is has been a few days since being named Head Coach of the Washington Mystics, I must tell you I am still ecstatic! Since the press conference, I have had a chance to e-mail all of the Mystics players to introduce myself and begin talking with them about the future of our team. I also have begun speaking to individuals that I have an interest in working with on my staff. There has been a lot of interest in our organization, as people are aware that times are changing in DC!

I am planning a trip overseas to see as many players as possible, which hopefully will take place before the Christmas holidays. I feel it is very important to communicate with our players, whether in person or via telephone or e-mail. The conversations are an important step for us to get to know one another, as I have heard from many of them already. As I stated before, I believe you “win with people” so I am certainly going to surround myself with talented and quality people (both staff and players). Stay tuned for more…

It is also important to me to establish a presence in the community. It is exciting to think about moving to the DC area! I want all the Mystics fans to be fired up about our team and the franchise for years to come. My goal is to establish a winning tradition that you all can be proud of. It will take time, but I can tell you I will have a sense of urgency in all that I do. If there is a method to speed up our progress, you can be rest assured I will find one!

As we evaluate our players, look at top free agents, and begin watching the collegiate talent, we will move towards putting together an exciting roster that you all will enjoy watching next summer. We will definitely be putting our time in during the off-season, in order to make our team better. Our players will come back much improved, well-prepared, and enthusiastic for the 2009 Mystics season!

I have received many e-mails and text messages from people expressing their support. I thank you all for the many positive notes, and now it is time to get to work!

I believe this is the beginning of something special, and I look forward to the future with you and the Washington Mystics franchise.

Until next time,

Julie

Wednesday, November 12th - Sheila Robinson talks about change.

Hey Mystics Fans,

I am back for a minute and I want to talk about CHANGE. Most people frown when you mention change. After awhile, Change is necessary in order to move forward. Change shows progress. Now those who are close to me may say that I have OCD-like ways and change is hard for me, but it really isn’t. Yes I like consistency, I like having a schedule, rules are important, however, one can get into a rut and that’s when change is needed. I make changes to keep my sanity; I make changes to spice things up a bit. I make changes so I won’t seem predictable.

Take the changes in the Washington Mystics organization: A year ago the Mystics went through some major changes and I must admit it hit me like a ton of bricks. For a long time I was like a fish out of water, just all over the place, not able to breathe easy. As time passed and the shock of it all wore off, I began to understand and accept the reasons behind the changes; it was then that I was able to breathe again, see clearly now the rain is gone. I am able to move forward with the rest of the team. I have become an even better me because I made the decision to move forward and contribute to the success of the team and not stay stuck in the sand.

More change in our organization is that we have a new GM (Angela Taylor) and new head coach (Julie Plank). Both these women are a welcomed addition to our rebuilding process. Having them here will definitely bring about consistency, accountability and hopefully "win-ability." First impressions are long lasting and my first impression of them is that they are very capable, strong, dedicated women. I am looking forward to working with them.

In closing, I would like to offer my advice to anyone who has difficulty adjusting to change: Accepting change shows growth and part of that growth is learning to be flexible; things are not always black and white, there are many grey areas.

Until next time...

SR

Tuesday, November 11th - the office is closed. Happy Veterans Day!

Monday, November 10th - Mystics newbie Tia Norman enters the Mystics blogging circle.

Hello Mystics Fans,

I am one of the newest members to join the Mystics team and I must say after my first my month in the front office I am having a blast. So far everyone in the office has been really helpful and encouraging so I am very appreciative about that. I could not imagine being a new person in an office where people acted like you did not even exist. On another note I am really enjoying getting to meet our returning Mystics fans and meeting some of the new fans coming in. Everyone is so full of energy and loyal to the Mystics organization so I am happy to continue to meet everyone as time goes on.

I know that everyone else tends to have really fun thing to share about themselves or have a funny story, however I tend to ramble and get excited about the simplest things (like writing my first blog ever…YAY ME) so I could be on here writing forever.

So here is my attempt to be simple and to the point. On Tuesday I am happy to say that I got the chance to go out and vote. My wait time was only 30 minutes, but I still made sure to savor every moment, plus my mother was in line with me talking me to death and asking for every possible piece of paper to put in a scrapbook. Even though this was my second time voting I can report that this time was far more meaningful since I got to participate in such an historic election.

On my last note I hope everyone is familiar with Tim Gallant b.k.a "resident newbie." Well he has absolutely forbidden my usage of "resident newbie," even though he isn’t new anymore. He is old news, so I am currently taking suggestions on my own blogging nickname feel free to offer your suggestions. Until next time,

Auf Wiedersehen.

Tia

Friday, November 7th - Whitney Palmer shares her good fortune.

Good morning Mystics fans,

Thanks for tuning in. My name is Whitney Palmer and this is my first week to blog for the Mystics. November marks the second month that I have been with the team. I feel so lucky to work with an organization that is ‘growing’ through so much: a new general manager and head coach, five draft picks, a budding front office staff ... the list goes on! As far as myself and everyone here is concerned, the sky is the limit. After the press conference yesterday, we are very confident that both casual and hard-core Mystics fans will be satisfied with our decision to move forward with Ms. Taylor and Ms. Plank.

Quick Story: I left my wallet on the metro the other day. It had my license, debit card, $18, and apartment bus pass in it. Doing what any reasonable person would do, I tried to accept that I would never see that little brown wristlet again. To my surprise, not even 3 hours passed before the director at my apartment complex had called to let me know that someone turned it in. What do you think the odds were of that happening? I still can’t get over it. I did, however, get to meet the nicest lady alive.

Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying the off season!

Best,

Whitney

Thursday, November 6th - Greg Bibb checks in.

Today is an exciting day for the entire Washington Mystics organization. After executing what I would deem a “slam dunk” in the hiring of Angela Taylor as our General Manager, we now have the good fortune of welcoming Julie Plank to the Mystics family as our new Head Coach. I’m excited for a number of reasons, but first and foremost I’m excited because I can write with great confidence today in my feelings about Julie, how she will fit with our organization, and where she will lead our basketball team in the future. This confidence comes from knowing we developed a game plan for our search process and stuck to it. We were very deliberate in moving through the process and we spent an enormous amount of time researching candidates, talking to people in the know and evaluating individuals against the traits we felt were imperative in our next head coach hire.

As with the process utilized in hiring Angela to lead our basketball operations department, I’m very proud about the way in which we progressed through the head coach search. By doing our homework, putting in the time and being true to the criteria we established as essential for our head coach hire, we have enabled ourselves to acquire an outstanding coach.

Julie joins us as a flat-out winner. She comes to the Mystics organization with over 20 years of coaching experience, having spent time as part of some of the most successful programs in the NCAA and WNBA as well as helping Team USA win gold at the 2000 Olympics.

Julie is a former stand-out player at Ohio State University where she was a three-year starter at point guard and led the Buckeyes to the program’s first Big Ten title in 1983. After graduating, she joined the coaching staff at Capital University, helping lead that team to a 39-8 record. Later she joined Tara VanDerveer’s staff at Stanford and helped guide the Cardinal to eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, four Final Four trips and two NCAA Championships. Julie concluded her college coaching career by spending several years as the lead assistant at Vanderbilt University. Overall, Julie’s collegiate teams posted a robust 343-104 record during her tenure.

Julie joined the Indiana Fever for the club’s inaugural season in 2000 and spent the next seven seasons helping transform that organization from an expansion team to a constant Eastern Conference contender. During her time as Indiana’s assistant coach and director of scouting, the Fever made four playoff appearances and two trips to the conference finals.

Last year, Julie joined the staff of the Minnesota Lynx and played a big part in forging a group of young and talented players into a team clearly moving in the right direction. The Lynx improved their win total from 10 in 2007 to 16 in 2008. During her brief time in Minnesota, Julie has helped develop the games of the Lynx backcourt, including Lindsey Harding, Noelle Quinn and Candice Wiggins.

Quite simply, everywhere Julie has been, success has followed. I was immediately impressed by her and I quickly came to realize she shared our organization’s vision regarding building for the long-term and for developing our young players.

Having spent over 20 years in the women’s game, she also understands the importance of marketing the team and becoming a prominent and productive member of the community in which she works. That’s why, like Angela Taylor, she will be moving to Washington to live year-round by the start of the New Year.

With eight years of WNBA experience, most of those leading the scouting efforts of her respective club, she joins Angela in having a deep understanding of the players in our League and she has developed an eye for identifying talent outside of the “A-List” players. Likewise, she understands the importance of managing a salary cap and the emphasis that puts on player development and coaching, not only for the present, but also the future.

Finally, I’m excited because for the first time during my tenure with the Mystics, I think the leadership on the basketball side of the business will be sharing a common philosophy and perspective. This chemistry has been forged during a long-standing basketball relationship that dates back some 15 years. Angela played at Stanford in the early 1990’s while Julie was an assistant coach and last year Angela was the Lynx VP of Business Operations when Julie served on the Lynx coaching staff. These two successful women know each other, respect each other and will work as a team to move the Mystics in the right direction.

Back in mid-September, I had indicated I wanted to have a new General Manger and Head Coach on board by mid-November, at the start of the NCAA basketball season. Mission accomplished. Now comes the really hard part…the actual building of something special. We are talking months and years now, not days or weeks. The road will most certainly present its share of bumps; however with the talent we now have assembled at the top of our basketball operations department, I’m more confident than ever we are going to find success.

Over the coming weeks, Angela and Julie will be working hard to put a coaching staff together. They will be talking to players currently under contract, evaluating free agents and starting the collegiate scouting process. They will also be taking timeout from their busy schedules to spend time with Mystics season ticket holders at a variety of meet-and-greet events. Please keep on the lookout for announcements regarding these opportunities. Until then, enjoy your early November, keep thinking positive thoughts about the upcoming WNBA Draft Lottery selection process and continue reading the Mystics’ blogs!

Finally, a programming note…you’ll have the opportunity to learn a little more about Julie Plank next Thursday when she serves as a guest blogger in this space. I will be back blogging on November 20.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, November 5th - Marty Lerner checks in.

Hi Mystics Fans! I hope all of you had a great Halloween and enjoyed your treats (and tricks)!

First, let me say that I am looking forward to working with Angela Taylor. Many colleagues have sent me emails when she joined and have raved about her knowledge of the game, her past accomplishments and her drive to succeed. I know she will put together a solid team that will grow and show success on the floor.

As you know the front office has been working hard to put together exciting programs for the 09 season. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to:

  • We recently partnered with Sibley Memorial Hospital on an event called "100 Hugs" which provided free mammograms to uninsured women. Sibley was able to provide 104 in the 4th year of the program. Each of the women received a Mystics goodie bag and an encouraging letter from Alana Beard.
  • Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business; the Mystics will be the presenting sponsor of the Rising Stars program which honors rising business stars. 2008 Rising Stars honorees are:

    1. Misti Burmeister, Inspirion, Inc.
    2. Charlotte Ducksworth, Prince Georges County Economic Development Corporation
    3. Heidi Kallett, The Dandelion Patch
    4. Pum Lefebure, Design Army
    5. Ada Polla, Achimie Forever

    Congratulations to these five young women who are well on their way to becoming superstars in their respective industries.

  • Corporate partnerships has recently added to its staff. I’m pleased to welcome Steven Lawhorn and Liz Sellers to our team.
  • Have you renewed your season tickets yet? Here are interesting facts when you’re thinking about spending your entertainment dollars:
    - Four full season MYSTICS VIP tickets (18 games) costs $3,500
    - Four Diamond Club seats (MLB – 18 games) costs $12,600
    - Four half season VIP tickets (NBA – 18 games) costs $15,288

    Go Mystics!

    Marty

    Tuesday, November 4th - Angela Taylor blogs while waiting to vote.

    Hey Mystics Fans,

    First, I hope that if you are reading this blog you have either gone to your polling place to vote or are planning to vote after work today. Regardless of your party lines, we should all appreciate the fact that our ancestors fought so that we would have the opportunity to vote. It’s our obligation to make sure that our voices are heard in this democracy.

    Well, as I type this blog, I am actually standing in line to vote for the next President of the United States of America. Regardless of which party wins, history will be made in only a matter of hours. How incredible is that! I could barely sleep last night (I'll probably regret not getting any sleep at some point later this week) because I wanted to be first in line. Unfortunately, 17 other people had the same idea. Oh well, I will have to let #18 count!

    Last night, as I prepared for a long wait, I packed my "survival kit". In the event that there was a long line and inclement weather, I was prepared with my fully charged iPod, a rain hat, a camera (just in case CNN needed to hear from an iReporter), multiple forms of ID, comfy shoes, and some snacks. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was actually a beautiful fall day in Minny.

    Despite arriving at the polls at 6:11am and finding the volunteers setting everything up, it was still well after 7am when we were finally able to enter the building to place our vote. To pass the time away, I exchanged some emails with some of our players who seem to be on their computers a lot these days.

    Here's a brief update on our Mystics squad...

    Krystal is enjoying Greece; Monique is getting set to join AB in Poland later this week; Tasha will probably head across the Atlantic in the next week as well; Shay's team is hoping to get on track in Spanish League play; Laurie's team has only played a couple of games; and Coco says it hasn't gotten too cold in Russia (yet). All seem to be doing well & looking forward to 2009.

    As I was walking to my polling place (luckily only a few blocks from my apartment), I started to think of the importance of this election. That spurred me to think about some other things that have had a huge impact on my life. What a wonderful time to reflect.

    I'll share a few with you today:

    1. I’ll always remember September 11, 2001. For one, that was my 30th birthday! Secondly, I was in NYC when it occurred. In fact, a few high school friends had been visiting around that time and in between going out to the Tennis Center to watch the U.S. Open, they had actually gone to see the Twin Towers just days before this tragedy occurred. I will never forget the feeling. It was so surreal.

    2. When I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus during the spring after my sophomore year, I realized how much an impact that this game of basketball truly had on my life and at that point realized that I’d rather work in the sports industry than on Wall Street (with what’s going on for brokers these days, maybe that wasn’t a bad choice).

    3. A little foreshadowing that I would never really find my niche in a kitchen was when I attempted to cook some pancakes for my family when I was about nine years old. Let’s just say that my dad and brothers humored me by eating those wretched silver dollar sized lumps of flour. I, on the other hand, didn’t even hesitate to toss my plate in the garbage. No amount of butter and syrup could mask the horrendous taste. Thus, anytime the family hears that I may be helping with Thanksgiving Dinner, an intervention occurs!

    Let me interrupt this entry to say that the poll is now open (13 minutes late) and is very unorganized. Let me pause the writing of this blog, so I can make sure I'm in the right line.

    Well it's now 7:31am, and I'm on my way home with a feeling of excitement and empowerment. I have to chuckle though because somehow amidst all of the chaos with the lines, I went from being the 18th person to the 47th person to submit their ballot (partly because I think I proofed my ballot 20 times before submitting it). It has been quite awhile since I had to use a No. 2 pencil to fill out those ovals on standardized tests. Somehow I felt a little more nervous about my ability to fill out the oval properly today than I did when taking the GMAT for business school several years ago.

    Well, despite my lengthy discussion my experience for today’s election, I’m sure you are wondering whom we are voting on to be the next coach of the Mystics team. You’ll be happy to know that we are really close to filling you in on who we have elected to lead the Mystics into the future.

    From a very impressive and strong pool of candidates, we have identified the person who possesses the leadership qualities and work ethic that we seek while they also reflect the character traits that this organization emphasizes. As I mentioned in the Fan Q&A last week, we are being very selective because there is a great opportunity to do something special with the right people in leadership roles. Stay tuned!

    Don’t forget to vote!!!

    Take care,

    Angela

    Monday, November 3rd - Rebecca Hunt shares her weekend and reminds us all to vote.

    Happy Monday Mystics Fans!!

    It is Monday and you know what that means ... we are one more week closer to the start of our Mystics season! As you know things have been pretty exciting so far this off-season. We are really happy to have our new GM, Angela Taylor, in place. We have also rounded out the rest of the Mystics staff with new hires in the Sponsorship and Sales departments. That just means we are missing the Head Coach, so stay tuned for updates on who that will be!

    I must admit last week's blogs were all really good; they are a tough act to follow! Everyone covered the topics that have been on my mind. We are all planning and working really hard to get everything in place for the 2009 season. I have been keeping pretty busy outside of work as well. It seems as though every weekend between now and Christmas is booked up.

    I am pretty excited for this coming weekend. I am headed to Williamsburg to catch a William & Mary (my alma mater) football game and meeting my parents and my younger brother (Boo-Boo) and his girlfriend, Jessie. We are actually all getting to town Friday night. I have a feeling we may be visiting the outlets for some Christmas shopping and also dining at one of our two favorite restaurants; Cracker Barrel or TGI Fridays (I love the Peruvian Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries!). There is also talk of visiting my grandma and aunt who live in Hampton, but that visit is pending due to my grandma's social obligations. She plays cards with "the ladies" eight days a week and may not have time for a visit, haha. No matter what we do it will be great to spend time with my family.

    I also want to remind everyone to head out to the polls tomorrow and vote!! Until next time, y'all take care.

    BELIEVE!!

    Becca