October 2008

Friday, October 31st - Tasha Humphrey checks in.

What up what up WNBA blog followers,

Okay so here is thing..I am going to try and find a funny YouTube video that I will share with you guys for your viewing pleasures. But as you have read in my previous blog, I am going to be pursuing this acting/directing/producing career. And the best way to become this media sensation that I know I can be, is to entertain the fans. So the premiere video in the new line of WNBA/YouTube blogs is entitled Scarlet Takes A Tumble. And as you can tell from the title it's about a girl name Scarlet who takes a Tumble. So enjoy!

Make sure you go to the restroom before viewing this because I don't want any accidents and to be liable for your new pair of pants. So I recently watched the 2008 BET Awards and of course they were amazing. My man Lil' Wayne came away with countless awards which is very much well deserved, because he is self proclaimed BEST RAPPER ALIVE. And you know what? I second that motion. I mean the man is a lyrical genius. Somewhat like myself. ;) I mean me being so talented whether it's being musically, dancingly, or actingly. (Actingly is a word that I just made up and can not be used without the written consent of moi). There are just too many fields to choose from.

So just in case you didn't know November 4th presents a very very very important day. It's Election Day. It's the day that every 4 years is more important than my two favorite holidays CHRISTMAS and MY BIRTHDAY. lol. But on a more serious note, we as the American people have the opportunity to make a difference in the world. And don't say my vote isn't going to make a difference because it will. If you are eligible to vote and don't do so, you can't get mad when your presidential candidate of choice is not elected. So go Barack the Vote!!!

I'm still figuring out where I am going to play overseas, but as soon as I do I will be purchasing my Rosetta Stone kit so I can learn the language or just "where is the mall" and "I'm hungry". Everything else I can rough it. LOL. Also I'm starting a Guitar Hero World Tour Band and we need a lead singer; I'm on drums, Deanna Tweety Nolan-Lead Guitar, Elaine Powell-Bass, Kara Braxton-Choreography.. LEAD SINGER- It could be you. We are going to get really good and challenge Tony Hawk, A-Rod, Michael Phelps, and Kobe. So they can bring it!!!

I want to take this opportunity to lend my thoughts and prayers to Jennifer Hudson and her family due to the recent events they are going through. Hudson family you are in my thoughts and prayers.

That's all for now. Hope all is well. God Bless

Tasha Humphrey

Thursday, October 30th - Greg Bibb checks in.

The search for the next Washington Mystics Head Coach continues. Two more candidates were in town this week for formal interviews and I would expect us to complete the interviewing process in the very near future. Once we are done meeting with candidates, we will move quickly to a decision on a selection.

At this point, I think it is safe to say that two individuals have separated themselves from the pack and would have the inside track at being the person we want leading our team moving forward. Much like the General Manager search, I continue to be impressed by the pool of candidates and I’m confident we are going to be hiring a quality coach who will help us move in the right direction.

I have communicated since the beginning of the search process that I hoped to have the basketball operations leadership in place by the middle of November. I would expect this timeframe to hold true. In fact, I would expect to be in a position to introduce the head coach of the team within the next two weeks.

Following that announcement, Angela Taylor and the new head coach will work diligently to hire an assistant coaching staff as swiftly as possible. At that point, it will be time to pray to the draft lottery gods and hope for the best as we prepare for the 2009 draft.

Beginning on December 1, the free agency window opens in the WNBA and the off-season activity truly begins from a player personnel perspective. I would expect that with a new General Manager, a new Head Coach, five picks in the upcoming draft and coming off a 10-24 season that we will be very active between December 1 and draft day. There are a lot of things I cannot guarantee at this point, but there are a few things about the 2009 Mystics that I feel comfortable promising…we won’t be complacent and we won’t settle for mediocrity.

I have blogged several times now about the seven traits we were/are looking for in our General Manager and our Head Coach. I think the seven criteria have served us well in our search as they helped identify Angela and they have made the review of coaching candidates a cleaner process; however, there was probably one trait that is inherit to the other seven that I should have highlighted by itself….the candidate needs to be a winner. I’m a firm believer that in life there are people who are just plain winners…they figure it out and they find success. That’s Angela in a nutshell and that will be our new head coach. With individuals like this joining our organization, an organization that I believe already has plenty of winners involved, I’m confident more consistent winning and success will come. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Week (compliments of Mystics staffer Maria Giovannetti)

“The reward for doing a good job is the ability to do even better.”

Adelyn Update

With so much to cover in regards to our GM and Head Coach search, I haven’t written much about my little lady lately. Adelyn has been busy preparing for Halloween and is attending several parties with friends this week. The original plan was to go as a ladybug, but apparently the outfit didn’t meet her expectations (in other words, she didn’t like wearing it), so she is now out and about as a pumpkin…a very cute pumpkin I might add. Adelyn is approaching 15 months of age and seems to add a new word or sign to her communication repertoire daily. Perhaps the most amusing of these is her sign for gorilla in which she proudly pounds her chest and stomps around. By the way, her personal assistant, chauffeur, chef, and social enabler…aka mommy…is also doing great.

Joke of the Week (compliments of Mystics staffer Mike Ragan)

Q: Why are there no tests in the jungle?
A: Because all of the cheetahs!

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• After a big win at Ohio State, Penn State is three victories away from a perfect season…and still might not have a chance to play for the BCS National Championship…can someone please beat Texas and/or Alabama?

• Can anyone tell me which team in the NFL is going to win the Super Bowl? If you say the Tennessee Titans, I’m not listening.

• Reading a good book right now…”Raving Fans…A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service”…check it out.

• The NBA season has now started and I’m picking the Celtics to repeat as champs.

• Don’t forget to vote on November 4!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, October 29th - Crystal Hudson is ready for Thanksgiving.

Hello to all out in cyberspace! By now, it's obvious that everyone is aware (particularly if you're reading this) of the exciting addition we’ve made to our front office, with Angela Taylor as our new VP & General Manager. I hope you all are as thrilled as we are to welcome her aboard! These are definitely exciting times, as we have expanded our staff significantly within the past few months, and it seems as though we will continue to expand over the next few weeks. By Thanksgiving, however, we should be all set and ready for 2009 and the season ahead.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I’m very much looking forward to next month’s holiday! Unfortunately, Halloween has pretty much lost the allure it used to have as a youth; so I’m skipping right over this Friday’s traditional celebration of the Celtic New Year and I’m already anticipating going home to New York City to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family and friends. It’s funny, because as a child I never really appreciated Thanksgiving Day; it was just another marker in the calendar year that meant Christmas was almost here. And of all the holidays of the year, Thanksgiving Day was the most boring in my book. But, oh how things (and people) change. Aside from my birthday of course (celebrated in my world just like a national holiday!), Thanksgiving is now one of my favorite holidays. It doesn’t have the commercial materialism attached to it like Christmas (and even Halloween) does, and it also provides an almost mandated time for reflection and – get ready for this one … giving thanks.

So I have to apologize to Dana and Greg (whose birthdays are Oct. 30th & 31st, respectively), for skipping right over their special days and focusing on my trip home during the late November break. And for all of you out there, I wish you a happy and significant Thanksgiving Day!

Until next time …

Crystal.

Tuesday, October 28th - Angela Taylor introduces herself.

Hello Mystics Fans,

I am so excited about becoming part of this fantastic organization. I have a lot of respect for the Mystics leadership team (Sheila, Ted, and Greg), I look forward to getting to know the loyal Mystics fan base, and I can’t wait to work with the Mystics players.

Tara VanDerveer taught us that winning is a mentality and that’s what we plan to do here in DC. We will instill a winning mentality and build a winning organization. “Change” is coming to DC! For me, this objective starts with the crucial head coach hire. We have an impressive list of candidates for the job and will be very thorough in our evaluation of who is the right person to lead the team. As Greg has stated, we’d like to have that person on board in the next few weeks.

More details on staffing and what the plan is will follow in subsequent blogs. For the time being, I thought I'd share a little bit about myself with you.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Starting out with my 15-year reunion at Stanford earlier this month. I can’t believe it was 19 years ago that I stepped onto that amazing campus. Little did I know that those four years would have had such a huge impact on my life. From the people to the experiences (including the 7.0 earthquake in October 1989), I truly feel blessed.

The reunion was fantastic. Several classmates returned to cheer the Cardinal volleyball and football teams on to victory and to reminisce about all of the special memories that we shared during our four years at Stanford.

After the reunion, I was able to spend some time in Idaho with friends and family prior to meeting up with some teammates from the NCAA Championship Stanford teams in Jackson Hole, WY. When I was in Idaho, I stopped by the junior high school to visit my 8th and 9th grade basketball coaches (Mrs. Starkey and Mrs. Jett, respectively) and their students. While in Mrs. Jett’s classroom, one confident student started to list his favorite professional basketball players…many of which were WNBA players. That special moment brought a smile to my face. We really are making a difference in the lives of boys and girls around the world, which is why I love my job.

While in Jackson Hole, we ended up going on a six-hour hike (those competitive instincts rearing their head again). The time actually flew by as we spent time reminiscing about the good ole days, updating everyone on new jobs and families, and trying to solve the world’s problems. They each are very excited about my new endeavor with the Mystics and look forward to watching us play in person.

So who am I? At the core, I am a product of my experiences and the people I’ve been around. My parents and brothers (2 older brothers) have taught me about hard work and the importance of family. My time at Stanford taught me about what it takes to accomplish your dreams. My experiences with the WNBA have taught me how sports bring people together and can really have a positive impact on lives. The last 11+ years with the WNBA have also convinced me that I must give back to the game that has given me so much.

When I have time, I love to read leadership books. I’m currently reading John C. Maxwell’s Talent is Never Enough and am finding it difficult to put the book down. As I turn page by page, it seems like he is speaking to me. Heavily laced with some very poignant quotes (including a quote from Dr. Seuss), this book is spot on in so many ways. I have yet to finish the book, but love the quote from William Jennings Bryan, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

There is much to be achieved here in DC for the Mystics, so trust that our staff and our players are going to work diligently to make this a special organization. Time to get to work!!!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t send a special shout out to the staff, players, and fans in Minny! These last two years have been amazing and I am so appreciative of the support and guidance that many people have provided during that time. I wish them all the best.

If I haven’t said it already, I’m really excited to be here in DC and look forward to getting to know the Mystics faithful!

Go Mystics!

Angela

Monday, October 27th - Maria Giovannetti reminds us what the Washington Mystics and the WNBA is all about.

Hello Mystics fans!

First and foremost, I want to share with you how excited I am about the new Mystics General Manager, Angela Taylor. I encourage all of you season ticket holders out there to attend our “meet the GM party” so you can chat with Angela in person (call your rep. for more details). I have great respect for what she has accomplished both on the court as a player and off the court as a coach and business professional. Our organization is headed in a great direction with a clear vision and we are all excited to have Angela on board!

Speaking of being headed in the right direction, I have a document posted in my cube that I look at everyday. It reminds me why the WNBA represents more than just buying a ticket and coming out to watch a basketball game. If you’ll allow me, I think it’s good to be reminded of these points from time to time to see the bigger picture of what we’re all about. At its core, the WNBA is “a symbol for women’s achievement and recognizes its power to instill confidence and break the barriers of inequality.” The WNBA has extraordinary women of achievement. These women not only serve as role models on the court, but they are also accomplished in other areas of life as business professionals, coaches, mothers, etc. The players and front office staff from all teams in the WNBA are dedicated to making their local communities and communities around the world a better place to live and work. Finally, the WNBA provides one of the most inclusive, fan-friendly, high energy, player accessible atmospheres in all of professional sports.

Last year the Mystics front office staff created a mission statement that echoes these thoughts. I’m sure some of you have seen it on our business cards, in letters, or on e-mails. For those that have not, the Washington Mystics organization is dedicated to providing affordable entertainment, serving as an impactful community partner and maintaining accessibility to positive female role models. Supported by passionate fans, the Mystics are elite hardworking athletes consistently striving to win a championship.

Mystics fans, thank you for your support over the years! We all look forward to seeing you at the Verizon Center in 2009, if not before at various events we will be hosting in the next several months. We’d love to hear from you so please call your ticket representative or 1-877-DC-HOOP1 today.

Friday, October 24th - Shay Murphy blogs for WNBA.com and WashingtonMystics.com.

What's up, WNBA fans?!?! It's your old pal Shay checking in from lovely Espana, where I'm playing for San Jose. I'm located about 2½ hours from Madrid in a city called Leon.

When I was approached about doing a blog this offseason, my reaction was a little mixed. It sounds awesome, you know? And I'm always up for telling people what I'm up to… But I kinda wondered if any of you would be interested. But I'm giving it a shot and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

So the basketball has been going pretty well… but I want this blog to be a little different. I want it to be fun… so I'm going to try to deal with lots of off-the-court stuff, too.

And since you all know I love my karaoke… let's start this off with a bang! Though I'm guessing you already know where this is going…

So recently, my Spanish teammates and I were hanging out at this place… just standing around and talking and looking around. It was like the first week I was in Spain. Then this song came on… and I was happy because it was an American song… finally… after hearing Spanish all night.

It was Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer... And we all started singing… and my teammates knew all the words. In English. I was shocked.

But putting my shock aside, it was still a sight to see: me, the only black girl in the whole bar singing Bon Jovi with Spanish people. Hitting all the high notes, of course. I love diversity. lol

It was also great because, wow, it was my first week in Spain, and we're going through this hardcore team bonding already. How fun to love your teammates that quickly?

So there we are in the middle of the place, singing at the top of our lungs, and everyone is looking at us… Like, "Ummm, what are you doing?" We got plenty of funny looks. But I tell you, we definitely had some fans by the end of the night.

After Livin on a Prayer, we did Madonna's Like a Virgin as an encore. Apparently they only know old American songs in Spain. But that's my favorite Madonna song, so it worked out. Lol.

The best part of it all? Well, all my teammates thought I had a great voice (which, of couse, I do)! I was like, "Awww, you guys are the best!" My teammates in the States, though, all think I can't sing to save my life. Lol. I once let them listen to a few of my songs that I made on my computer and they all laughed their rear ends off. They were like, "I like the lyrics and the beats, Shay, but your vocals… oof, your vocals are a NO GO." Lol.

So even though my Spanish teammates seem to think I have a real future in the music biz, I thought it would make sense to create my own made-up band with current and former teammates back in the States. So here goes:

Omg, Kristen Rasmussen has a great voice.,. Noelle Quinn would play the piano for me. Umm... Kara Braxton would be my backup dancer. Kristen Mann could be my guitarist... I would be the lead singer, since it's my group, you know. I would be in the limelight, of course. Hahaha… in my own world…

Hahaha, how funny is it that the biggest band member is the backup dancer?!?! I love that. Kara's the best dancer ever. You might have guessed that she'd be the backup vocalist, what with her crazy-deep voice, but no. She's my backup dancer and I'm sticking to it. Lmao.

But what would we be called? Well, we are very talented, so it would have to be a catchy name. And like all international pop stars our music would be global - using all kinds of different genres… pop, classical, rap, salsa and more -- because then we'll reach all different types of people.

So I'm hoping you like my fairytale music group. Now it's reader participation time. Submit name ideas for my group in the blog comments area below. I can't wait to read them. And keep them clean.

I have like 18 convos going on between Skype, Facebook and iChat, so lo seinto, but I'm gonna roll. I will be in touch soon for sure, so don't be strangers!

Byeeeee!

Thursday, October 23rd - Greg Bibb checks in.

Today is an exciting day for the entire Washington Mystics organization. After a long and thorough search, we announced that Angela Taylor is our new Vice President and General Manager. Angela will officially assume her duties on October 27; however, she has already joined me in our search for the Mystics new head coach.

So, how did we arrive at Angela as the clear choice to lead our basketball operations department? As I indicated last week, we entered the search process with an open mind as to whether we would be hiring a General Manager and a Head Coach or a single person to do both jobs. After much thought and deliberation, we decided the best thing to do for the organization was to keep the positions separate and maximize the manpower and talent in that part of our business.

Once we knew we were hiring for two positions, it was clear that we needed to start with the General Manager as this individual needs to have a significant say in the future direction of the basketball operations department, including the next Head Coach. We then began the process of reviewing all of the candidates we had interviewed and started to analyze how they measured up to the seven criteria I identified last week as the key traits we were/are looking for in our General Manager and Head Coach.

To review, those seven traits we are seeking are:

1) The candidate has a familiarity with the WNBA and the League’s players
2) The candidate is a proven talent evaluator
3) The candidate has an understanding of the salary cap and how it operates
4) The candidate has an appreciation for the business side of our operation
5) Ideally, the candidate is a former player
6) The candidate shares our long-term vision
7) The candidate is willing to live in the Washington, DC market

When we looked back and reviewed the nearly 40 individuals we have had discussion with regarding these opportunities, it become very apparent, very quickly, that the ideal person to lead our basketball operations department is Angela Taylor.

Angela’s basketball resume begins in the early to mid 1990’s while playing at Stanford. While there she was part of two NCAA national championship teams and also served as captain. She earned a degree in economics while at Stanford and also holds an MBA from New York University.

Following a stellar playing career, Angela served as an assistant coach at the University of Arizona, Texas A&M University, and her alma mater Stanford. During her time as an assistant coach her teams at these three institutions went a combined 99-26.

After leaving the bench, Angela joined the WNBA during the League’s infancy in 1997. During a 10-year career within the player personnel department, she held titles at all levels of the organization, starting as a coordinator and rising to Senior Director prior to her departure in 2006. While with the League office, she was very active in the evaluation of collegiate players, helping identify individuals who could play in the WNBA. She established relationships with a large number of player agents, most of the players who entered the League during that time, and many of the General Mangers and coaches from throughout the WNBA.

While at the League office, Angela also developed a deep understanding of the WNBA salary cap and during the League’s early years, when player contract negotiations were centralized at the League level, she learned the art of contract negotiation. Angela left her mark at the League office by being a key member of the staff there for nearly a decade and by serving as an original member of the player personnel department.

After leaving New York, she moved west to Minnesota where she has served the past two years as the Lynx Vice President of Business Operations. In this role, Angela has been responsible for all business-related activities surrounding the club. This includes tickets sales, corporate sponsorship, marketing, fan relations, public relations, community relations and interactive services. During her time with the Lynx, the team has ranked at or near the top of the League in several key business segments while growing ticket sales, sponsorship, and online traffic.

In short, when it comes to women’s basketball and the WNBA, Angela has done it all. She has experienced success as a player, a coach, a league administrator, and the business leader of a WNBA organization.

Most importantly, Angela wants to be a part of the continual growth of the Mystics franchise. She wants to live in the Washington, DC area and become a year-round member of our community. She shares our vision of building a successful basketball team for the long-term.

We are thrilled to have Angela join the Mystics family and we are excited about making a final decision on a coaching candidate in the near future. Like Angela, they will possess the seven traits listed above and they will join our entire organization in the pursuit of our ultimate goal: a WNBA Championship.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, October 22nd - Tim Gallant reveals the name of the new Mystics GM … or maybe not.

Hello Mystics Fans!

The resident newbie has returned! I hope you all have been well in my long absence. I practically had to beg to get on this blog again, and thanks to a certain sales member being too busy to fulfill the hallowed role of blogger, I am back! I would like to think that there are thousands of you reading this and that you are all charmed by my wit and humor. In reality, I am sure that if you are still reading this piece, it is out of pity and a longing to get to some real bit of information and not because of any of my hilarity. So, without further delay I would like to talk a bit about the Mystics!

Instead of giving you the same bit of information that your wonderful season ticket and account reps have been calling you about (unless you haven’t picked up the phone, in which case, call them back to get that bit of information that I am not privy to share on this blog!) but to just tell you how things have been around here. It is no surprise that we are zeroing in on a GM and Head Coach, but it has been wonderful to think of the endless possibilities that come with change. Change for the sake of change is unproductive as we have seen in the past, but when you have a plan and alter the organization to fit that winning formula, then, you are truly on to something. And believe me when I say that this organization, including the fans, is onto something big. The plan enacted by Ted Leonsis, Sheila Johnson and Greg Bibb is masterful and will work.

Now that you are salivating from the mouth in anticipation I would advise you to pick up your telephone and call your account representative to get more information on what has been happening with the Mystics. I know; what a tease!

I will end soon because this piece is due in roughly two minutes and I can not keep Ketsia waiting! Again, thank you to all you fans for supporting us, and I will leave you with this thought: As a die-hard Red Sox fan I was crushed by our defeat at the hands of the team formally known as the Devil Rays…As in the team that couldn’t win 80 games in its first ten years of existence to save their lives. But, what I am getting at is for so long I would hope and pray that we would win a World Series, just like you fans hope every year that this will be the year that we finally take that next step. My advice: stick with us. Because in the end, we WILL have a winning team, and when that moment comes and the Mystics are on the front page of the sports page for their success on the court, you will be happy to brag to your co-workers that hey, I am a TRUE fan and I have points to prove it!

Until Next time, (hoping that there is a next time) farewell and call your rep!

Tuesday, October 21st - Ketsia Colimon checks in.

Hey Mystics fans,

How are you guys handling the off-season? It must be brutal on you fans but as a staff, I must tell you we are pretty busy. Our staff is working diligently to make sure that the fan experience is an even better one in 2009.

Last time I wrote to you, I mentioned my speeding ticket. Since, I have added two more to my ‘collection”. It is so frustrating! One was for expired tags, which I can’t really be blamed for as I didn’t receive my registration card. My tags expired in July but I didn’t realize that until September when the nice police officer pointed it out to me. A) July is in the middle of our season and I don’t remember minor details when we are in season and B) shouldn’t tag renewal happen around one’s birthday because mine is in October?? I thought it did. The second ticket was a parking ticket which bought my parking ticket total to close to 1,000. I mean if you need someone to spot that little pink ticket from a mile away, I am your girl. Those I recognize in my sleep. Speaking of sleep, I have started having dreams/nightmare of going to my car and finding a pink parking ticket waiting for me. When I get in my car nowadays, I flip on the windshield wipers JUST IN CASE a ticket is stuck. I just want to make sure that I get them so that I pay them or we can all predict a parking boot in my future…sigh

Miscellaneous

I recently went home for my brother’s graduation from the Miami Police Academy. I must say it was quite moving and we are extremely proud to see him persevere and achieve his dream. I can’t say that we were all excited at the prospect of him becoming a cop (MOM) but when someone that you love has a dream, you support them because you don’t really have a choice.

Sam Update

Sam (my nephew) is still the cutest thing around. He is such a HAM!!! He is now six months old and showing all of the impatience that is typical of Aries! Can’t wait to see him during the holidays!

Take care,

Ketsia

Monday, October 20th - Team Planning at Salamander Farm.

The Mystics front office staff will be participating in team planning meetings all day. Pass the Ball will resume tomorrow.

Friday, October 17th - Laurie Koehn checks in from Turkey.

Hello Everyone!

Well I left the States two weeks ago and have finally settled in here in Turkey…my home for the off-season. We are still about a week and a half away from our first official game, so for now it is just practice, practice, practice! (Which is definitely a good thing…anytime you can have a few weeks to get to know each other and get some on-court cohesion before games start, it is a bonus)! We have (almost) our whole team (minus Lisa Willis who gets in tomorrow I think) here now. We played five exhibition games the week I got here with NO post players!! So it was really good to see Camille Little and Jacqueline Johnson walk into the gym a few days ago!

Other than that, I’m enjoying my favorite season of the year…fall! The only problem is I can’t watch college or NFL football. Soccer seems to be the sport of choice on this side of the Atlantic! At least I can still enjoy the cool weather and the colorful trees…and of course the anticipation of another basketball season starting!

Well I guess I don’t have much else to report on right now…hope all you Mystics fans are doing well! Until next time…

Laurie

Thursday, October 16th - Greg Bibb checks in.

When we started our search for new leadership in the basketball operations department, we decided to enter the process with an open mind and flexibility when it came to the structure of our basketball side moving forward. We determined that the best course of action would be to allow the quantity and the quality of the candidates as well as their respective experience, skill and talent decide if we structured the department with a General Manager and a Head Coach, or hired one individual to do both duties.

As I have mentioned in early posts, I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of interest these opportunities have generated. We have heard from some very big names in the basketball world, some rising stars, and some folks who were just willing to help out in order to move the Mystics in the right direction.

Prior to beginning the interview process, I had identified seven key traits I would want in our next GM and/or Head Coach. Holding true to these seven traits and deeming them crucial to the hiring process has allowed me to move quickly through the interview process while providing comfort knowing we will arrive at a correct choice. The seven criteria are:

1) The candidate has to be familiar with the WNBA and the League’s players….we need someone who understands our League, knows the personnel, and has an established opinion on the talent on the court. Basketball is basketball, but the WNBA has its own nuances that make it different from other leagues. Certainly, the woman’s game as a whole is much different than the men’s game. While many successful coaches have made the transition from the men’s game to the WNBA (see Bill Laimbeer and Michael Cooper), I would prefer to hire someone who is already involved, or has been involved, with the League in some capacity.

2) The candidate must be a proven talent evaluator…this is probably the most important trait of all. We need someone who can identify all-level talent, not just top-level talent…that’s easy. The best evaluators can search out the players who are less obvious, but can make a positive impact. Second and third round draft picks, free agent signings, and other team’s castaways often provide the difference between winning and losing.

3) The candidate must understand the salary cap and how it operates…our League operates on a hard salary cap. Managing the financial side of the roster is almost as important as identifying talented players. The salary cap is a puzzle and the person who manages it needs to be able to balance present-day thinking with what is going to happen one, two or three years down the road. In addition, understanding the League’s collective bargaining agreement and the administrative process involved with our basketball operations makes for a smooth transition and allows us to focus on building the team rather than learning new things.

4) This candidate must have an appreciation for the business side…we operate as a small business. Much of what we do from a sales and marketing perspective relies on our product…the players. We depend on the team to help us sell tickets and sponsorship and we need a person who understand the role the team plays in the process. Moreover, the basketball operations budget is a very large piece of our overall operating budget and this individual will have a significant impact on our bottom line. Having an individual who understands this and welcomes the marriage between basketball and the business is important.

5) Ideally, the candidate is a former player…respect comes to those who have walked the path they are establishing for others. While this is not a prerequisite, it is a bonus. I, for example, will never understand the game as well as someone who actually played it at, or near, the WNBA level. It’s that simple. Again, I don’t think you need to be a former NCAA champion or WNBA all-star to be a good GM or Head Coach, but I certainly don’t think it hurts either.

6) The candidate shares our long-term vision…our organization is committed to building this team the right way, over time. We are resolved to building through the draft and the development of our young players. We see our plan not in terms of next year, but in terms of a three to five year program that will provide us with a championship caliber team that will be able to compete together as a unit for a number of years at the highest of levels. The General Manager and Head Coach must embrace teaching and player development as part of the program.

7) The candidate must be willing to live in market…we are working hard to build a successful organization here in Washington and it is my opinion that we need someone who is willing to be in market year-round to help us promote the team, engage the community and build a winning culture. Again, we operate a small business and we need individuals who are going to work year-round to grow this small business.

Now comes the exciting news…I believe we have found someone who clearly possess all seven of the traits listed above. While we are not in a position to make a formal announcement now, I would keep your eyes and ears open for some news within the next 10 days.

I’m quite excited about our future and where we are headed as an organization. I think we have a solid plan for moving forward. Having now gone through the interview process, I know we are going to have quality individuals leading our basketball side. I’m looking forward to the draft lottery and watching the women’s NCAA season unfold. It should be a productive and fun off-season.

Wednesday, October 15th - Megan Burda discovers the joys of living in Arlington.

Week two in Arlington...

Life is good on the outside world of Baltimore and I must say I’m loving life. Other than the two-hour each way commute that is voided from my daily schedule, various normal day activities have been added. With my new place I can walk to the grocery store, gym and the mall! I am also a very short distance from Clarendon and many of my freshly moved James Madison University teammates. Not only is convenience a huge added bonus to my routine, I can also actually have time to make plans after work which doesn’t involve scooting down 95! It’s great these days.

Great Discoveries that I cannot find in Baltimore:

  • A restaurant on every corner of every kind.
  • More shopping than I can ever imagine right here at my fingertips.
  • A metro system that I am finally discovering can take you anywhere!
  • Having time in my day to spend with my friends after work.
  • Being able to blow my horn when someone cuts me off without feeling guilty.

    Along with the new move, life down here in D.C. and the office are looking up also. With all the newly added faces and new ideas bouncing around, we can only expect a huge season ahead. Stay tuned as many more great discoveries are bound to pop up.

    Monday, October 13th - Columbus Day.

    Friday, October 10th - Nakia Sanford checks in.

    Hi Mystics fans!!!!!!!

    First, I just have to say thank you to everyone who supported the Betty Ann Robinson Foundation drive for the South East White House. The parents and kids in need were truly blessed through your support.

    Now, I have to make this short and sweet because I am getting ready to leave for a trip to California. My dad and I are going to drive cross country to Georgia!!! I am so excited. We don’t get a chance to spend very much time together because I am always traveling with the Mystics or out of the country. So this is going to be a great father-daughter trip. I wish we had time to go fishing too. But we have to get on the road. Zoey is going with us so this should be interesting. Her first road trip so we will see how it goes. Wonder how long it will take before sticking her head out the window gets boring? I was trying my best to stay home and enjoy fall in my new home, but I won’t be able to. I have to go back to work. And guess where I might be going of all places?!?!?! RUSSIA. So I am trying to get myself mentally ready for this new challenge, but I am excited about a new place, even if it was never on my list of places to go. LOL. Everything is not final yet so shhhhhhhh….. We will see what happens. I’ll keep you posted. So ciao ciao for now ( I guess I need to learn a new language now too).

    Kia

    Thursday, October 9th - Greg Bibb checks in.

    The WNBA season has come to a close, but the NCAA campaign is just around the corner. There’s also just 26 days left until the election. Please make sure you are registered to vote. Here’s what’s on my mind this ninth day of October, 2008.

    Shocking

    Last week I mentioned that I thought the San Antonio Silver Stars would win the 2008 WNBA Championship in a close, hard-fought five-game series against the Detroit Shock. Wow, was I wrong. Detroit swept San Antonio, winning twice on the Silver Stars home court to claim the trophy. The title marked the Shock’s third in six years and second in the last three campaigns. Love him or hate him, you have to give props to Bill Laimbeer and his staff for the job they have done. Congrats to the Shock on another championship season.

    Well Deserved

    Of course, a Detroit championship also meant a long-awaited and much-deserved WNBA title for Taj McWilliams-Franklin. Taj works as hard as any player you will meet and is the consummate professional. I’m happy to see her finally experience the ultimate WNBA joy.

    Setting The Record Straight

    During the course of the year, I hear a lot of interesting comments, complaints, suggestions, and opinions. Some are valid, some are not. Some are funny. Some are not. Recently, however, there was one comment made that I felt deserved a swift and specific reply.

    During most of our games following the Olympic break the owner’s suite at Verizon Center was being remodeled. As a result, the area where Sheila Johnson normally views Mystics home games was covered with a black tarp to help keep dust out of the seating bowl and provide minimal disruption to our fans who sit in that area. Sheila re-located to her company suite on the 200 level. Remarkably, some folks felt Sheila was providing some sort of symbolic message by “wrapping the owner’s suite in black.” I can assure you this is the farthest thing from the truth. In fact, if it was up to us, the remodeling would have taken place following our season, but it was not our decision. So, in short, please understand that Sheila remains 100% committed to the team. In fact, she is the most committed, passionate, and dedicated owner I have ever worked for. Trust me, she’s the team’s biggest fan and will always support the women who wear the Washington uniform.

    Joke Of The Week (compliments of my nephew)

    Knock, Knock.
    Who’s There?
    Doris.
    Doris Who?
    Doris locked, that’s why I had to knock!

    Fall Fun

    On Sunday Tara, Adelyn, and I visited Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD for some Fall fun. We started our afternoon with a picnic lunch before saying hello to roosters, goats and a baby cow. Adelyn then enjoyed a wheelbarrow ride to the apple orchard where we picked fresh apples. It was then time for a tractor hay ride to the pumpkin patch where we selected our jack-o-lantern for the year. We ended the day with a caramel apple and a visit from the farm dog. If anyone is looking for a fun afternoon, check out Homestead Farm. You can learn more at www.homestead-farm.net.

    MVP Honors

    On Tuesday, we wrapped up our first year with our volunteer sales force, The Mystics MVP Club, by treating the group to a thank you dinner at Gordon Biersch restaurant and brewery. The MVP Club sold 113 season tickets for the Mystics during their inaugural year and I’m excited about what this group will be able to do in their sophomore season. Thanks again gang!

    Sad News

    Mystics forward Krystal Vaughn’s mother passed away last week. Please join the Mystics organization in thinking of and praying for Krystal during this difficult time.

    You Heard It Here First

    Since I arrived in Washington a little over a year ago, I have been thinking about a way we can honor our loyal fans who have been season ticket holders since our inaugural campaign. I’m happy to report we are getting closer to a resolution and I would expect a program to be in place for the 2009 season. Stay tuned.

    Housekeeping Note

    The Mystics offices will be closed on Monday, October 13 in observance of Columbus Day. We’ll be back to work on Tuesday morning. Hopefully, each of you will have to opportunity for a three-day weekend. If so, enjoy!

    Quote of the Week

    “Big goals can create the fear of failure; lack of goals guarantees it.”

    Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

    • I’m a Dodgers fan first and a Phillies fan second, so I’m loving the National League Championship Series. I will be excited for the World Series no matter who wins, but I grew up bleeding Dodger blue, so I’m rooting for the boys of summer.

    • Congrats to Candace Parker for becoming the first player in WNBA history to win both the Rookie-of-the-Year and Most Valuable Player awards in the same season.

    • Verizon Center is the place to be on Saturday night as the Capitals finally open their much anticipated 2008-09 season. I see an Eastern Conference championship and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in this team’s immediate future.

    • Don’t forget that the deadline to enter the October renewal contest for a $200 gas card is October 15. If you haven’t renewed yet, please give us a call.

    • Only 22 days until Halloween…do you have your costume?

    Until Next Time,

    Go Mystics!

    Wednesday, October 8th - Nicole Boden shares her fish pedicure experience.

    Hello Mystics Fans! It’s Nicole Boden checking in again. I always have the hardest time figuring out what to blog about.

    Hmmm…Well last week before heading to Poland, Alana stopped by the office to sign some items for me. She started to tell us about a “fish pedicure” she had gotten the day before. I had never heard of such a pedicure but then Andrea Gardner came in and said she too had gotten this “fish pedicure.” Without even knowing it they had gone to the same place on the same day. They both whipped out their nicely pedicured toes and had me feel how smooth their feet were. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings but their feet were neither pretty nor smooth. I’m kidding but it peaked my interest so on Friday I traveled all the way to Alexandria to one of the two places in the area that offers a “fish pedicure.”

    They take you to this back room with a bench and four plastic boxes with over 50 piranhas and you’re suppose to put your feet in for 15 minutes and let the fish doctors nibble at your feet and eat all of the dead skin off the bottom of your feet. I’m not really scared of a lot but once you put your feet in the box they start going to town. The bigger ones hurt the most and for some reason they were only nibbling on my right foot. Ok some would call me dramatic but I really think they broke skin. I was with a very brave eight year old who had her feet, hands and if she could have, her body in the box with no fear and then there was me. I just wanted it to be over with. The owner of the shop kept coming over to me showing me pictures of “Hollywood celebrities” that she had given this famous “fish pedicure” to. The celebrities consisted of Hodo Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford from the Today Show. I kept thinking is this something that Beyonce or Britney Spears would do? Probably not but I smiled and told her how much I was loving the experience.

    All in all it was a very interesting experience. I’m not sure I would do it again. Spending $45 for just a pedicure where fish nibble at your feet hmmm I think I’ll pass on that one next time.

    On another note, my beloved Arizona football team is in first place in the Pac-10. Yes folks, my Arizona football team is 4-1 for the first time in eight years. We haven’t been to a bowl game since 1998 so you know if we make it I will be right there cheering on my team. Finally things looked to be turned around in the desert!

    Until next time!

    Nicole

    Monday, October 6th - Chris Waldmann talks about his favorite time of the year.

    Chris Waldmann checking in…

    Hello again to the Mystics faithful. I hope everyone is enjoying the Fall season and the cooler temperatures, I know I am. Being a huge sports fan, this is one of my favorite times of the year. College and NFL football to watch on the weekends, the Capitals are almost ready to get back out on the ice, college and NBA basketball right around the corner, and most importantly the playoffs have begun for baseball! Being from Connecticut I am a huge Boston Red Sox fan. Once again my boys are in the playoffs and hopefully primed to make a deep run. I’m writing this on Friday, so by the time this is posted any number of possible scenarios could have played out, but hopefully we’re still looking as strong as we did Wednesday night (all apologies to you Nats and O’s fans out there, one day, it will happen). As for my Green Bay Packers (fan by family traditions) I’m no longer so sure we’re ok. Hopefully Aaron Rodgers plays this week and we get by the Falcons, or I’m going to have to stop talking about other people’s teams in the office!

    Other than my very busy sports viewing schedule I’ve been keeping busy here at the office. We have some big changes on the way. Hopefully our new GM will be in place within the month and we can start planning on what we’re going to do with those five draft picks that we have this season. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to seeing who we land in the draft and what kind of team we’ll be able to put together for 2009. I know it’s going to be an exciting off-season with all the changes on tap, and I know it’s going to lead to an exciting season on the court for us too. For all of you Season Ticket Holders out there it’s not too late to lock in your 2008 rates for the 2009 season, we need your support, and we will be better this year!

    Until next time…

    Go Mystics! (and Red Sox!)

    Friday, October 3rd - Crystal Langhorne recaps her first week in Lithuania.

    Hey Mystics Fans,

    Here is an update on my life. It’ll be really random how I'm writing, so sorry if stuff just pops up. The first day I was really lonely, so I got a little worried. But now its much better. My manager picked me up from the airport and there was a camera man waiting for me as soon as I got off the airport, so I know I looked rough on TV. He took me to my apartment and it’s really nice, I like it a lot. We later went to the supermarket and he helped me pick out some foods I like. I thought I bought turkey but it tasted like bologna, I threw that away ASAP, I guess I will just have to eat ham. Of course, they don't have peanut butter and I didn't even look for seasonings because I got lazy. I found a cereal that tastes like corn pops so I bought like three boxes of it. My washer and dryer is one machine and I don't know how to work the dryer yet so I guess I'll be hang drying clothes until I figure it out. And my dryer is so small; I can fit like two pairs of underwear in there!! Just Kidding.

    My other American, Lindsey, is pretty cool. She went to Iowa State. She’s 27, so a little bit older. We went walking in the city the other night because we live two blocks away from everything. There are little cafes everywhere and the city is really nice, it's just cold. All the clubs and bars are two blocks away, me and Lindsey were going to go the foreign student night at this club but we were too tired. The other American player is Noelle Quinn and she will be coming in on Friday, but she’s staying in a different apartment. Practices have been going really well, I like the players and the coach seems to know what he's talking about which is rare for overseas from what I heard. It's just weird because he'll scream at his players in their language and I'll just be standing there clueless. He doesn't yell at Lindsey or me though, he's real chill with us, but he still teaches us things. His English is pretty decent too. The players seem nice, they all kind of speak English, its not great but we can communicate. And when people make jokes, I just feel like a loser because I don't know what they're saying. But on the court its tough to talk because things are going so fast, like the stuff I'm saying is basically just useless. Main communication is for a screen, you say left, right, or high, and switch. And all the players don't even know the word switch, like the younger ones, so they told me its veshum in Lithuanian (I don’t know if that's how you spell it but that's how it sounds). So it was one of the girl's birthday yesterday and the GM came in and brought her flowers and then EVERYONE kisses on the lips, like she does that with everyone in the circle, weirdddd. I kissed her on the cheek hahahahaha.

    Practices are cool too, like its real chill when we do drills like ucla drill or full court shooting; everyone kind of just jogs, where in college we went full speed. But when we play, we go hard and they don't call fouls. When someone shoots when we are staying in the half court, like that’s it, no one really goes for the rebound, and it’s weird. I'm the only black person in the country of Lithuania. People stare all the time, my manager told me to excuse them because they're not use to seeing black people. And we did some testing when I first got here. We had to run like six steps to test speed and the jumping test I can't even explain. Then they had us hooked up to this thing to test our heart, I felt like I was a lab rat lol. I had to go to the hospital for some blood tests too, it looked so old. If I get hurt, (knock on wood) I'm definitely coming home for any type of surgery.

    Ok that is it for now.

    Clang

    Thursday, October 2nd - Greg Bibb checks in.

    The temperature is falling, the days are getting shorter and October has arrived. I hope September was good to you. As we look forward to the final three months of 2008, here is what’s on my mind…

    Then There Were Two

    The San Antonio Silver Stars and the Detroit Shock will meet in the 2008 WNBA Finals. San Antonio defeated the Los Angeles Sparks, two games to one, in a thrilling Western Conference Finals while Detroit held off an upstart New York Liberty side, two games to one, to claim the Eastern Conference crown.

    In my opinion, this Finals match-up was the best one possible. The Silver Stars were the best in the West all season long and the Shock have reigned in the East for longer than I can remember. To me, a championship should be contested by the two best teams and I think that is what is happening in the WNBA this season.

    So far the playoffs have been very dramatic with all six of the best-of-three series going three games. In the finals, San Antonio and Detroit will play a best of five and I look for this series to go the distance as well. Detroit has been here so many times in the recent past, they have a huge advantage on the experience front; however, I think San Antonio has been the best team in the League all season and I expect them to hoist the trophy in their own building following a great Game 5.

    Thanks, Partner

    On Sunday the Mystics hosted our first annual corporate partnership luncheon. Mystics President and Managing Partner Sheila Johnson was kind enough to offer her wonderful Middleburg estate for the event and nearly 50 Mystics sponsors made the trip.

    During the course of the day, we enjoyed good food, drink and conversation while our partners had the opportunity to meet, mingle and network. Alana Beard and Nakia Sanford joined us before leaving town, as did Jessie Kenlaw and several members of the Mystics front office.

    Basketball Ops Update

    We are well into our search for a General Manager and a Head Coach. While I won’t reveal specific names, I will tell you I have been impressed by the quantity, and more importantly, the quality of the candidates. Numerous phone interviews have already been conducted and face-to-face interviews are scheduled to begin here in Washington later this week. While I don’t have a specific deadline for the hiring(s), I would reiterate my desire to have our basketball operations department in place by the start of the NCAA women’s season.

    Welcome Whitney & Tia

    I’m delighted to announce that the Mystics front office continues to grow. Our most recent additions join us in the ticket sales department. Whitney Palmer and Tia Norman joined the staff as Account Executives on Monday, September 29. Welcome Whitney and Tia!

    Get In The Game

    Throughout the off-season, we will continue to offer great incentives to renew your season tickets for the 2009 campaign. Our current renewal raffle is for a $200 gas card, courtesy of Geico. To be eligible to win the gas card, your renewal must be received by October 15. So, don’t delay, renew today.

    Joke Of The Week

    “Every party is made up of two kinds of people…those who want to go home early and those who don’t. Unfortunately, they are usually married to each other.”
    ---Ann Landers

    Climbing The Ladder

    On Wednesday, the Mystics organization announced three staffers have received promotions, effective October 1. They are as follows:

    Mystics Group Sales Executive Maria Giovannetti has been promoted to Senior Account Executive.
    Mystics Partnership & Marketing Services Manager Rebecca Hunt has moved to Marketing Manager.
    Mystics Sr. Director of Public Relations Ketsia Colimon has been elevated to Vice President of Communications.
    Mystics Sr. Director of Ticket Sales and Service Mike Ragan has been promoted to Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service.

    Congratulations to each of these individuals for a job well done and a much deserved promotion.

    Quote of the Week

    “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
    ---Benjamin Franklin

    11 Years Ago Yesterday…

    On October 1, 1997, I started my career in professional sports as the Director of Public/Media Relations for the Harrisburg Heat of the National Professional Soccer League. The date of October 1 has had quite a bit of significance in my professional career as one year ago yesterday, on October 1, 2007, I began my tenure with the Mystics. Time sure does fly when you are having fun.

    "Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts"

    • The end of the Major League Baseball season was as good as it gets. I’m looking forward to the playoffs and I’m picking the Dodgers (with my heart, no my head) to win it all.

    • “Graybeard” Brett Favre throws six touchdown passes in one game…he has found the water Dana Torres has been drinking.

    • Get on the bandwagon now folks…Penn State will play for college football’s national championship.

    • Still trying to decide what Adelyn will be for Halloween. Right now a ladybug would be the choice.

    • Congrats to all of the WNBA individual award winners; especially Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault who took home Coach of the Year honors. No coach did a better job of getting the most out of their roster this season.

    Until Next Time,

    Go Mystics!

    Wednesday, October 1st - Mike Ragan checks in.

    Hey Mystics Fans,

    Well with the season being over, it has allowed me to do some things I couldn’t do in season. The first and most important was to visit my sister Christina who is a grad student at Penn State. While I thought the fun part of the trip was going to be catching the Penn St-Temple game, the best part of the trip was actually seeing my sister in action at her lab and realizing the important work she is doing to try and help find a cure to some of the major diseases affecting many of us. A brother could not be more proud. And the best part is that after next year, she will be moving back to the area and most likely getting a job with NIH or John Hopkins. It will be great to have her back.

    I am also proud to be rounding out my staff. We have made two additions, Whitney Palmer, who was promoted out of Caps Inside Sales and Tia Norman who we found at the Career Fair. Yes people, sports Career Fairs really do work!! Best of luck to Whitney and Tia.

    I am looking forward to connecting with all of you at some renewal functions as well as on the phone. I’m sure we will have a lot to discuss, but I will tell you one thing, We WILL put a better product on the floor next year. If you don’t believe me just listen to our president. I don’t know about you but she convinced me. We will all be accountable this year, business and basketball ops. What we are asking you to do is support us again, nothing more, nothing less. We appreciate it and the ladies deserve it. As always, I am here to discuss whatever is on your mind and always welcome your input.

    Thank you again for supporting us and I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon

    Mike