LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks named Tonya Edwards as an assistant coach, executive vice president and general manager Penny Toler announced today.
“Tonya will be a valuable asset to the Sparks and we are excited that she will be part of our team,” said Sparks head coach Brian Agler. “I have known Tonya for 20 years and respect her work ethic, basketball knowledge, leadership abilities and positive individual qualities. She has been a champion at multiple levels and I anticipate her influence will be felt by our organization from top to bottom. I look forward to working with her and having her join our team.”
Edwards joins Los Angeles and her former head coach in the ABL and WNBA, Brian Agler, for her first coaching stint in the WNBA. She has a combined 12 years of professional experience including five seasons in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury and Charlotte Sting and back-to-back ABL (American Basketball League) titles with the Columbus Quest (1997, 1998). In 1999, she was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx and its first head coach, Brian Agler, and was named a WNBA All-Star as a rookie.
“I’m extremely excited to join the Sparks organization,” said Edwards. “I look forward to teaming back up with Brian Agler and working with a world class group of women, starting at the top with Penny Toler.”
As a coach she has 18 years experience most recently serving as head women’s basketball coach at Alcorn State University (2008-2015). In 2012 she led the Lady Braves to the SWAC Championship game and was named the 2010-11 SWAC Coach of the Year. Prior to Alcorn State, she served as an assistant coach at the University of Detroit Mercy (2006-2008), one season with the Chicago Blaze (2005) in the National Women’s Basketball League (NWBL) and two seasons at Mott Community College (1990-1992).
Edwards coaching career began at her alma mater Northwestern Community High School, where she compiled a 78-23 coaching record in four seasons (1991-1994). In her third season as head coach, she guided Northwestern to the 1993 state title and was named the Michigan High School Coach of the Year.
Edwards attended the University of Tennessee (1986-1990) where she won two national championships with the Lady Vols (1987,1989) and was named most valuable player in the 1987 NCAA tournament. She finished her career with 1,309 points and in 2006 was inducted into the UT Hall of Fame.