The Washington Wizards announced their 2018-19 coaching an training staff changes on Tuesday. Among the new hires is the Washington Mystics’ Kristi Toliver, who will join the assistant coaching and player development staff.
Toliver brings valuable experience, having led the Mystics to the WNBA finals in 2018 and won a championship in 2016 with the Los Angeles Sparks.
Wizards’ Head Coach Scott Brooks says the organization is “excited to begin the season with a revamped, versatile staff of coaches and trainers. We have a good mix of returning veteran NBA coaches, valuable new additions and promotions from within the organization that will help our players improve.” She’s the first woman to become a coach for one of DC’s major four sports teams.
— WNBA (@WNBA) October 16, 2018
Toliver is known by most fans for her clutch shooting, including this game-tying shot against Duke in the 2006 National Championship game, which the Terps went on to win.
Toliver is part of a growing trend in sports of hiring women to fill coaching and scouting roles. This offseason, the Toronto Maple Leafs hired Canadian legend Hayley Wickenheiser as the new assistant director of player development, and Noelle Needham as their new amateur scout for the Midwest.
Power skating coach Dawn Braid became the first woman to get a full-time coaching role in the NHL in 2016, but as early as 2011, former Capitals forward Jeff Halpern worked with power skating coach Wendy Marco in the offseason.
When asked about why he hired Wickenhesier and Needham, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas commented, “We’re looking for the best candidates. We’re not pushing anybody aside – and I think sports, in general, are moving well in that direction. It’s been great to see. Basketball’s probably been by far the best with that. Baseball as well.
“I just think it’s going to make sports and how they operate that much better as we all progress and move along.”
Dubas is correct, but every league still has a ways to go. There aren’t many female coaches in the NBA — as of October in 2017 there were only three women coaching full-time in the league.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Washington Wizards announced their re-structured coaching and training staff for the 2018-19 season today.
Joining Scott Brooks and Tony Brown on the front of the bench will be Robert Pack and Ryan Richman, while Kristi Toliver will join David Adkins, Mike Terpstra and Maz Trakh on the back of the bench as an assistant coach/player development. Additionally, Alex McLean and Landon Tatum have both been promoted to assistant coach/player development.
Toliver comes to the Wizards’ bench after helping to lead the Washington Mystics to the 2018 WNBA Finals. She also assisted the Wizards’ coaching staff during 2018 NBA Summer League and training camp. The 10-year pro, two-time All-Star (2013 and 2018) and WNBA champion (2016 with Los Angeles) has averaged 12.3 points and 3.4 assists over her WNBA career and posted 13.9 points and 4.4 assists for the Mystics last season. She was originally drafted third overall by Chicago in the 2009 draft out of Maryland, where she led the Terrapins to the 2006 national championship.
Headline photo: @Wizards
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