A new era in UVA Women’s Basketball started today as WNBA legend Tina Thompson was announced as the program’s next head coach. Thompson is new UVA Athletic Director Carla Williams’ first big hire and should be considered a massive success. A standout player herself, she amassed well over 2000 points in her time at the University of Southern California en route to being the number one overall pick in the inaugural WNBA Draft in 2007.
While in the WNBA, she won four titles with the Houston Comets while being named to the All-Star team nine times. She played on the United States Olympic teams in 2004 and 2008, winning gold medals at both competitions. This past March, it was announced that she will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later this year.
Since retiring from playing, Thompson has spent the past three seasons as an Assistant Coach for the Texas Longhorns. This position will be her first as a Head Coach, an opportunity she is looking forward to. In a statement released alongside the announcement of the hiring, Thompson said the following:
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to become the next women’s basketball coach at the University of Virginia. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a program with such a rich history. This program is in an exciting place with a hardworking group of young ladies. It is my intention to continue the winning ways coach Joanne Boyle has built with this impressionable group.
“I am excited about meeting my team, getting to know them and pouring into them.”
The Hoos went a respectable 19-14 last season, including a 10-6 mark in the competitive ACC. They were eliminated in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament at the hands of South Carolina. Thompson’s former team, Texas, advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
Thompson’s wildly successful career should make Virginia an attractive destination for top women recruits. That, alongside her proven ability to win at all levels of the game, make this an intriguing hire, and begins what could be a new era for UVA Women’s Basketball.