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Mystics hire Stanley as assistant coach

The Washington Mystics announced Tuesday afternoon that Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Marianne Stanley will join the coaching staff in the upcoming season to work primarily with post players. This will be Stanley's second stint with the Mystics, after spending time in the organization as an assistant coach in 2001 and head coach from 2002 to 2003.

A decorated and well-respected coach on both the college and WNBA levels, Stanley spent the previous two seasons as an assistant with the Los Angeles Sparks. But when Los Angeles bypassed her in December for the Sparks' head coaching job after Michael Cooper moved on to the Southern California's women's team, she decided to leave. (You can read more about the Sparks' coaching search in the LA Times, here.)

"It was like Christmas in January for us," Mystics General Manager Angela Taylor said.

Stanley is currently in Russia, where it is past midnight, and couldn't be reached for comment. While there's no argument Stanley's an impressive addition to the Washington coaching staff, it leads to the question of what's to become of Maryland alum Vicky Bullett, who worked with the Mystics' post players in 2009, or the team's other assistant coaches Trudi Lacey and Luby Lichonczak.

Taylor declined to comment specifically on the status of any of the team's assistant coaches from 2009, saying only that "we want to keep our staff consistent." However, WNBA policy for 2010 states that only one assistant coach may sit on the bench during games and only one may travel as opposed to two last season.

"Now that we've hired Marianne we hope to solidify the rest of our coaching staff," said Taylor, who coached with Stanley at Stanford during the 1995-96 season while Tara VanDerveer guided the U.S. Olympic team. "Our goal is to keep our staff consistent. Marianne and her background as a coach with post players is a huge advantage for us and I have no doubt she'll be able to work together with the rest of our staff."

Training camp and the 2010 season may be a long way off, but I'm curious to see how her addition impacts Washington's post players specifically Crystal Langhorne, the WNBA's most-improved player of 2009 who will be entering her third season. Langhorne made considerable strides under Bullett's tutelage and in the first year of Coach Julie Plank's system.

Regardless of how the rest of the coaching staff shapes up though, the move is undoubtedly in line with the rapid rebuild of the Mystics' organization, which began in the previous offseason with the hiring of Taylor and Plank. And for those wondering as I did, Plank and Stanley never overlapped at Stanford but two know each other quite well after spending considerable time coaching at various schools in Southern California.

It's been a long time since Stanley was in Washington originally, so here's a brief timeline from her initial stint with the Mystics:

  • February 2001: Hired as an assistant coach on Tom Maher's staff.

  • April 2002: Hired as head coach.

  • August 2002: Mystics reach playoffs, but fall, 2-1, in the second round to New York ending the year 20-15.

  • January 2003: Stanley's contract is extended.

  • August 2003: Mystics finish the season 9-25, failing to make the playoffs.

  • January 2004: Stanley resigns as head coach.

  • January 2010: Stanley returns to the Mystics as an assistant coach on Julie Plank's staff.

*Don't forget that the WNBA's free agency period opens on Friday, when officials are allowed to start negotiating with players, who are able to sign beginning on Feb. 1. Washington has four free agents on it's roster, Nikki Blue, Monique Currie, Kristin Haynie and Kristen Mann.

By Katie Carrera  |  January 12, 2010; 4:36 PM ET
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Next: Mystics sign Katie Smith


Katie will you tell us who is the free agent that will visit the Mystics on January 15th (Friday) ?

Posted by: 4U2Know | January 12, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

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