WNBA's Storm promote Jenny Boucek to head coach
Jenny Boucek is moving one chair over, becoming head coach of the Seattle Storm.
The assistant was promoted by the WNBA club Tuesday. She succeeds Brian Agler, who left this month to coach the Los Angeles Sparks.
"It's a huge honor," Boucek said by phone. "I think it's even more special because of the history that the Storm and I share. Eleven years off and on, two championships, different coaching staffs."
Boucek returned to the Storm as an assistant in 2010 and was an associate head coach this past season. She also was head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs for 2½ seasons after a stint as a Seattle assistant Seattle from 2003-05.
"Jenny was a front-runner from the beginning," Storm President Alisha Valavanis said. "I thought in conversations with the owners, we knew how important this decision was for franchise. We thought it was important to search. We had a high-caliber candidate pool but came back to Jenny as she was the right fit."
Valavanis cited Boucek's ties to Seattle.
"She's been a part of this community. There's the on-the-court piece, but also the off-the-court piece," Valavanis said. "The fan base knows Jenny and that she's passionate about Seattle and this franchise as well as the WNBA and that's a great fit."
She inherits a team in transition. Seattle has been one of the league's most stable franchises the past decade. The Storm reached the playoffs every year since 2003 until this past season while winning two WNBA titles. Boucek was an assistant for Seattle's first title in 2004 before helping them win another one when she returned in 2010.
"I think we're very committed to an infusion of youth and putting some players on the roster that we can pass the baton to and develop and propel us into the next leg of this race," Boucek said. "They will be complementing our veteran players."
A key question is whether Lauren Jackson returns. The three-time WNBA MVP from Australia has missed the past few seasons because of injuries. She started playing again this winter in a league in her home country.
"I've kept in touch with Lauren for last 11 years," Boucek said. "In terms of this summer, I'm super excited that she's back playing and healthy. First and foremost, I care about these players as people. For Lauren, it's been a rough stretch when her body was breaking down. We'll see where she is closer to the season."
The Storm own the No. 1 pick in the upcoming WNBA draft.
"It will be the best player who will be a long-term pick for our franchise," Boucek said. "Alisha and I will start talking more seriously about this now."
Boucek's first game as head coach will come against Agler and the Sparks on June 6.
"I hadn't thought about that," she said. "It will be great to see him. I will always be one of his biggest supporters."
In college, Boucek helped lead Virginia to four regular-season Atlantic Coast Conference championships and three Elite Eight appearances in the NCAA tournament.
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Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press
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