SEATTLE -- A group of Seattle Storm season ticket-holders,
with the financial means to be taken seriously, is making sure the
Storm isn't leaving Seattle.
And on the same day as the announcement that Force 10 Hoops LLC,
a group of four women, has secured a Storm purchase option from
Seattle SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett for $10 million, came
reports that the team's new coach will be Brian Agler.
Both the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times
reported the selection of Agler, an assistant coach with the WNBA
San Antonio Silver Stars, citing unidentified sources Tuesday
night. Neither the Storm nor the Silver Stars would confirm the
hiring. The Storm scheduled a Wednesday news conference to announce
a new coach.
Previous Storm coach Anne Donovan resigned Nov. 30.
Agler has been with the Silver Stars since 2005. He also served
as the head coach and general manager of the Minnesota Lynx from
Former Seattle Deputy Mayor Anne Levinson led the Force 10 Hoops
deal, which has until the end of February to close. The agreement
was finalized in the last few days and ensures the Storm will
remain in Seattle, while Bennett continues his push to move the
SuperSonics to his hometown of Oklahoma City.
"This is driven by the enthusiasm of the fans," said Microsoft
Corp. executive Lisa Brummel, one of the four new owners. "It's
really easy you're going to decide you're going to get involved
with something if you're passionate about what you're involved
"How big is the smile on my face today?" Storm CEO Karen
Bryant asked at Tuesday's ownership announcement. Bryant, who is
not part of the ownership group, will remain with the Storm in her
The Storm has been highly successful in its eight seasons,
winning the 2004 WNBA title and making the playoffs each of the
last three seasons. Each of those seasons ended with first-round
Seattle has only four players under contract for the 2008
season, including league MVP Lauren Jackson. All-Star Sue Bird is a
free agent, but has continually expressed her intention to return
to Seattle if the team were to stay.
The new ownership group was brought together by Levinson, who
originally broached the topic early last summer after legislation
for a new arena for the Sonics and Storm failed in the Washington
Legislature. The group also includes Ginny Gilder, who owns an
investment business, is president of a family philanthropy and won
a silver medal at the L.A. Olympics; Brummel, senior vice president
of human resources at Microsoft and a Yale softball player; and
Dawn Trudeau, who formerly headed Microsoft's database division and
now works with nonprofits.
Levinson made her first overtures to Bennett during the summer,
but was met with the same answer Bennett gave to anyone making
offers for either franchise: "Not interested."
"We talked several times and [he] was very clear about that,"
In September, Bennett showed his first signs of being open to
other options with the Storm, announcing the team would play the
2008 season in Seattle, but making no commitment beyond that
season. In November, when he filed for relocation with the NBA to
move the Sonics, there was no mention made of the Storm following
"In November we asked if could start talking again and enter
into serious negotiations and we finished up during the holiday
season," Levinson said.
The sale, which needs to be approved by the WNBA board of
governors, would make the Storm the seventh independently owned
WNBA team, joining Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, Houston, Los
Angeles and Washington. It's the third team with a majority female
ownership, along with Washington and Los Angeles.
Levinson said the intention is the Storm will always play at
"We are pleased we have been able to negotiate a transaction
with an extraordinary group of highly accomplished women," Bennett
said in a statement. Bennett purchased the two franchises in July
2006 for $350 million from the Basketball Club of Seattle LLC, led
by Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz.