MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has hired Plenette Pierson as an assistant coach and elevated assistant coach Walt Hopkins to full-time assistant coach. Pierson will join assistant coaches Shelley Patterson and Hopkins on head coach Cheryl Reeve’s staff.
“Walt was a great addition to our team two years ago. I appreciate the tremendous work he has done with our players during that time and look forward to his expanded role with our team,” said Reeve. “Plenette has a bright future as a coach and I’m really excited to have her back with the Lynx. As a player, Plenette demonstrated a strong understanding of the game and the ability to connect with players.”
The 15-year WNBA veteran returns to the Twin Cities where she won a championship in 2017, her last season playing in the league, after she spent the past college season as an assistant coach at Wayne State University. There, Pierson led post player development, prepared opponent scouting reports and evaluated and recruited prospective student-athletes. With the Lynx, she will assist in the team’s talent evaluation, scouting and assist in the team’s player development. She becomes the 12th former WNBA player to currently be on a coaching staff in the league.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be returning to the Minnesota Lynx organization, this time in a coaching capacity,” said Pierson. “Leaving the WNBA in 2017 in championship fashion with this franchise, I knew someday I’d be back with Coach Reeve and I’m ready to give back to the game that gave so much to me.”
The Houston, Texas native played a total of 444 games with four different franchises (Minnesota, Phoenix, Detroit/Tulsa/Dallas, New York) and averaged 8.0 points on 44.4% shooting including 36.4% from deep, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. In her best season with the Detroit Shock, in 2007, Pierson averaged 11.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game off the bench and was named WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year.
Pierson’s playing career includes four trips to the WNBA Finals among her nine postseason appearances. She additionally won WNBA Championships in 2006 and 2008 with the Shock, where she played under then-assistant and current Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve.
Hopkins completed his second season in Minnesota as an assistant coach and the 2019 season will be his first at the front of the bench. He has over a decade of experience as a basketball coach at the professional, collegiate and high school levels. Hopkins worked in the WNBA as the Player Development Coach for the Tulsa Shock (2013) and has also served as Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Utah Valley University (2013-14).
A member of the 2017 WNBA championship staff, Hopkins earned his B.A. in English Writing from Nevada, and he holds master’s degrees from both Harvard and UC Berkeley, where his studies focused primarily on applying findings from Social, Developmental, and Educational Psychology to coaching settings. While studying at Berkeley, he also worked as an Academic Coach and Graduate Tutor for Cal Athletes.