2012 WNBA MVP Tina Charles should be a great player to work with for the new Connecticut Sun head coach, but how long will this search take? - Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
Since Mike Thibault was fired by the Connecticut Sun as its head coach, the team has been looking for his replacement. What has General Manager Chris Sienko been up to lately? And who would he like to hire?
Back on December 18, 2012, Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin noted that the team received a lot of interest from coaching candidates, was looking at coaching candidates, but that no one was interviewed by the team at that time. This also happened to be the same time when Thibault was hired by the Washington Mystics as their general manager and head coach.
One possible candidate that some people believe may be a good head coach for the Sun is Jennifer Rizzotti, the head coach for the America East Conference's Hartford Hawks women's basketball team where she has led them to a 264-138 record (as of the date of this post) with seven NCAA tournament appearances, and is now in her 14th season there. She is long rumored to be a possible successor to UConn women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma once he decides to retire, not solely because of her record at Hartford, a mid major school, but also because she is a former All American from UConn as well where she was part of the 1995 National Championship team. However, with Auriemma not likely to retire anytime soon, and with her reputation as a rising star coach, Rizzotti may want to take her talents elsewhere, and some believe she'd make a good fit for the Sun.
Unfortunately, while Coach Rizzotti never ruled out the possibility coaching WNBA players at some point in her career, she doesn't want to at this time, telling Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant in an article from December 22:
[The Sun] did not interview me or offer me the job. I have been friends with Chris Sienko a long time. I had the conversation with Chris, not after they fired Mike [Thibault], not before they did, just in general. I had the conversation before it ever happened, so it wouldn't come to that.
In addition from the same article, Sienko has been vetting a list of eight candidates, and hopefully looks to make his hire later this month. The only clue he gave to this search is that there are no "wild card" coaches from men's basketball, like hiring former UConn men's basketball head coach Jim Calhoun.
One name that would be kind of hard not to be on the list would be former Atlanta Dream general manager and head coach Marynell Meadors, who led the Dream to consecutive Eastern Conference Championships in 2010 and 2011, and with possibly less talent than the Sun's current roster, which consists of current MVP Tina Charles (pictured above), current Sixth Woman of the Year Renee Montgomery, star forward Ashja Jones, and star guard Kara Lawson. Perhaps Meadors, if hired, may be able to lead this team past the hump. Other names rumored to be possible WNBA head coaches when vacancies pop up include former Houston Comets, Ole Miss, and LSU coach Van Chancellor, current Southern Cal and former Sparks head coach Michael Cooper, and former Duke and Texas coach Gail Goestenkors.
Right now in the WNBA, there is still one coaching vacancy left. The Connecticut Sun needs a coach who can take a deep roster over the final hurdle and into the promised land. Who will that coach be?