SPARKS NAME GOESTENKORS AND KLOPPENBURG ASSISTANT COACHES

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks announced today that coaching veterans Gail Goestenkors and Gary Kloppenburg have joined head coach Carol Ross’ staff as assistant coaches for the 2014 WNBA season.

“I feel we have assembled one of the most talented coaching staffs in the WNBA,” said Sparks general manager and Executive Vice President Penny Toler. “With their combined wealth of basketball knowledge, experience and expertise, I am confident we will compete for the 2014 WNBA Championship.”

Goestenkors returns to Ross’ staff after spending the 2013 season as a Sparks special consultant. She brings over 25 years of coaching experience to the Sparks and joins Los Angeles for her first WNBA assistant coaching job.

Prior to Los Angeles, she served as the women’s head basketball coach at the University of Texas from April 2007 to March 2012 when she retired from the collegiate ranks. Before the Longhorns, Goestenkors was the head coach of Duke Women’s Basketball for 15 seasons (1992-2007). During her impressive run she led the Blue Devils to seven consecutive 30 win seasons and 13 consecutive NCAA Tournaments including 10 consecutive Sweet 16 appearances, four Final Fours and two NCAA Tournament runner-up postseason appearances.

Goestenkors coached Sparks guards Alana Beard and Lindsey Harding while at Duke, including Beard’s sophomore season in 2001-02 when the Blue Devils recorded the first undefeated regular season in ACC women’s basketball history. She repeated undefeated records two more times while at Duke: in 2002-03 with Beard and Harding and again with Harding in 2006-07.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to work with Penny Toler, Carol Ross, the players, staff and entire Sparks organization,” said Goestenkors. “Being a consultant with the team last year helped me get to know the players on a different level; this season I look forward to working with them as an assistant coach to help achieve the Sparks goal of winning another WNBA Championship.”

The seven-time ACC Coach of the Year, 2003 Naismith and 2007 AP Coach of the Year was also an assistant coach for the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Gold-medal winning U.S. Women’s Basketball teams.

Kloppenburg joins the Sparks bench with over two decades of coaching experience, both as a head coach and assistant coach in various leagues including the WNBA, NBA, internationally and the collegiate ranks. Regarded for his defensive expertise, Kloppenburg spent the past two seasons as head coach of the Tulsa Shock where he guided the team to its best record since relocating to Oklahoma in 2010 during his first season at the helm (2012); improving on that mark the following year to finish the 2013 season.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to join Carol Ross as an assistant coach with the Sparks,” said Kloppenburg. “This is a hard-working team hungry to win a WNBA Championship. With new owners and a general manager who are passionately engaged in growing the Sparks, the organizations deep commitment and loyalty to its team, community and fan-base is impressive. I can’t wait to start working toward bringing a WNBA Championship to the great city of Los Angeles.”

Prior to Tulsa, Kloppenburg spent four seasons as an assistant for the Indiana Fever from 2008-2011 under current head coach Lin Dunn. As an assistant coach he played an integral part in building one of the top defensive teams in the WNBA in a successful stint that included four straight playoff appearances by the Fever.

Kloppenburg first assisted Dunn in Seattle, as a member of the Storm’s staff from its inaugural season in 2000 through its first winning record and playoff appearance in 2002. He also spent one season as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Mercury in 2003. His coaching experience includes three seasons in the NBA with the Charlotte Bobcats veteran coach Bernie Bickerstaff from 2004 – 2006. He also served as an advanced scout for the Toronto Raptors from 1997-99.

He was an assistant coach and assistant director of player personnel for two years in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), first for the Rockford Lightning—where he stepped in as interim head coach for four games in 1999-2000—and then the Quad City Thunder. Internationally, Kloppenburg had conducted basketball clinics all over the globe including England, Greece, Belgium, Iceland, Japan and China and was the head coach of Panteras de Miranda of the Venezuelan Professional League in the summer of 1999. Kloppenburg’s coaching career began at Lassen Community College (Calif.), where he led the women’s program for five years, including back-to-back California Community College State Championships in 1992 and 93, and the men’s program for six.

The Sparks will open their 2014 WNBA home season on Sunday, May 18 vs. the Phoenix Mercury. For more information, visit LASparks.com

Thank You