SEATTLE – The Seattle Storm today announced that two-time WNBA Coach of the Year Dan Hughes has been named the fifth head coach in franchise history. 2018 will mark Hughes’ 17th season as a head coach in the WNBA.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Seattle Storm organization,” said President & General Manager Alisha Valavanis. “Dan is one of the most well-respected coaches in our league. His experience in the WNBA and as a leader in USA Basketball is a wonderful match for our young and developing team.”
Hughes, who has coached more WNBA games (524) than anyone in league history, has an overall record of 237-287 (.453), good for the third-most wins all-time in the league. He was twice named WNBA Coach of the Year, first in 2001, after guiding the Cleveland Rockers to a 22-10 mark, and again in 2007, after posting a 20-14 record with San Antonio.
“In conversations with Alisha and the Storm ownership group, it quickly became evident that this was a good fit,” said Hughes. “Beyond the incredible talent Seattle has on its roster, I am very excited to have the loyal fan base supporting us. In watching the team over the years, coaching against Storm teams, it’s been clear that the fans in Seattle create an advantageous home court at KeyArena and have been a huge part of the evolution of their storied success.”
Hughes spent 11 years as the head coach and general manager for San Antonio, from 2005-09 and 2011-16, guiding the Stars to six postseason appearances. Prior to San Antonio, he led the Cleveland Rockers from 2000-03, and was elevated to head coach in Charlotte midway through the 1999 season, posting a 10-10 record with the Sting.
“Seattle’s roster is extremely intriguing as we look to compete for WNBA championships,” added Hughes. “Having watched Breanna Stewart since her Connecticut days when I was with USA Basketball’s competition committee, I have been and continue to be intrigued by her talent. What stands out to me is her strong desire to win, and her ability to facilitate and make those around her better. Jewell Loyd is defining her greatness right now; she’s beginning to scratch the surface of what can be an illustrious career in the WNBA. To be able to work with Becky Hammon for eight years in San Antonio, and now be able to work with Sue Bird as a leader in the framework of the roster we have in Seattle is extremely motivating as a coach.”
“I am excited to get in the gym with Coach Hughes,” said Bird. “We have crossed paths a lot, both in playing against each other in the WNBA and in our time together with USA Basketball. He demands a lot from his players, and I know our team will respond as we work to return championship basketball to Seattle.”
Hughes’ leadership extends beyond WNBA players. His head coaching tree includes four WNBA western conference head coaches; Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve worked with Hughes in Cleveland in 2003, Los Angeles’ Brian Agler was on Hughes’ staff in San Antonio from 2005-07, Phoenix’s Sandy Brondello was also with Hughes’ San Antonio staff from 2005-09 and current San Antonio Stars head coach Vickie Johnson was a former player under Hughes with the Stars before sliding over to a coaching role, from 2006-09.
After spending 2017 as an analyst with ESPN, Fox Sports and the University of Oklahoma athletics department, Hughes will serve as the fifth head coach in franchise history, following Lin Dunn (2000-02), Anne Donovan (2003-07), Brian Agler (2008-14), Jenny Boucek (2015-17), and interim head coach Gary Kloppenburg, who stepped in to that capacity for the final eight games of the 2017 season.
Seattle is coming off a 2017 season that saw the team go 15-19 and qualify for its second-straight, 13th overall postseason berth before falling in the first round to Phoenix. The team parted ways with former head coach Jenny Boucek on Aug. 10 with eight regular season games remaining, and promoted assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg to interim head coach.
The Storm’s 2018 schedule will be announced at a later date by the WNBA.