Chicago, May 25 -- The Chicago WNBA franchise announced the hiring of former Boston Celtics great and “Hall-of-Famer” Dave Cowens as head coach of the new team.
“We promised this city a team that will compete with the heart and soul people associate with Chicago. We promised a team that works as hard as the people of Chicago do. I am thrilled that we have found a coach who is the personification of this philosophy,” said team President and CEO Margaret Stender.
“The WNBA represents all that is great about basketball,” said Cowens, named in 1996 as one of the 50 greatest ever NBA players. “My goal as a player in the NBA was not to be the best player on the floor, but to be the best team player. I see that concept everywhere I look in the WNBA. The players move the ball, play intense defense and dive for loose balls. They play with mutual respect, tenacity and high energy.”
Cowens has had coaching experience in the NBA beginning with Boston as a player-coach and then with the Charlotte Hornets and the Golden State Warriors compiling a 153-176 record. He led the Hornets to back-to-back 50-plus win seasons and finished second to Pat Riley in the NBA Coach of the Year balloting after the 1996-97 season.
"The Chicago team is quickly building on the high level of professionalism and on-the-court action on which we in the WNBA pride ourselves," said WNBA President Donna Orender. "The addition of a Head Coach with the basketball experience, undeniable talent and incredible passion for our game that Dave Cowens possesses underscores the Chicago team ownership's commitment to bringing the best the world of women's basketball has to offer to the great city of Chicago."
Doug Bruno, head coach of the DePaul University women’s team, will join the Chicago WNBA team as a consultant. Bruno has coached the DePaul women for 19 years and has helped the Blue Demons achieve national status as one of the top women’s programs in the country. An alumnus of DePaul, Bruno coached the Chicago Hustle of the Women’s Basketball League from 1978-80.
The Chicago WNBA team will begin play in the 2006 season at the UIC Pavilion, located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago and with a seating capacity of 7,500. The Chicago team will be the league’s 14th franchise and will play in the Eastern Conference.