Tina Thompson fired after four seasons as Virginia women's basketball coach

WNBA legend and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Tina Thompson has been fired as Virginia women's basketball coach after completing her fourth losing season at the helm of the Cavaliers.

Virginia athletic director Carla Williams, who hired Thompson in 2018, announced Thursday the termination of Thompson's contract, which had one year remaining on it.

"Unfortunately, we have not experienced the kind of success this program has come to expect and deserve," Williams said in a statement. "I am thankful for Coach Thompson's efforts and I wish her the very best."

Thompson went 30-63 at Virginia in her first head-coaching job, failing to guide the Cavaliers to a top-half finish in the ACC.

The Cavaliers, who canceled their 2020-21 campaign midseason due to injuries and pandemic complications, ended 2021-22 with a 5-22 record (2-14 in ACC play plus two forfeits) after a loss to Wake Forest in the first round of the ACC tournament.

The school said a national search will begin immediately to find Thompson's successor.

As the first pick in the inaugural WNBA draft in 1997, Thompson is one of the league's foundational players. Her storied playing career, primarily with the Houston Comets but also in stints with the Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm, includes four consecutive WNBA titles with the Comets (1997-2000) and eight All-WNBA nods. She was the league's leading career scorer until Diana Taurasi surpassed her in 2017. Thompson also won Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2004 and 2008.

Virginia's women's basketball program has a decorated history of success dating back to the 1980s and 1990s. Under longtime coach Debbie Ryan, the Cavaliers made 24 NCAA tournament appearances and advanced to seven Elite Eights between 1988 and 1996. With Dawn Staley on the floor, Virginia made three consecutive Final Fours from 1990 to 1992 and fell in the national championship game in 1991.

Virginia last won an ACC regular-season title in 2000 and a conference tournament crown in 1993.

The program recently produced a WNBA draft pick, Jocelyn Willoughby, who played half her career under Thompson before being drafted in the first round by the Phoenix Mercury and traded to the New York Liberty.