INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Fever needed a proven leader to take over as their next head coach.
Marianne Stanley seemed like the perfect fit.
On Tuesday, Fever officials announced they had hired the Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer, who just celebrated her most recent championship last season as an assistant coach with the Washington Mystics.
“The thing that excites me most is her ability to see and teach the game,” said Tamika Catchings, Indiana’s vice president of basketball operations and new general manager. “She brings a championship type mentality and knows what it takes to win, both on and off the court. The focus since the season ended has been finding the right leader for our team and organization. We are on the right path with Marianne.”
Stanley replaces Pokey Chatman, who was fired in September after going 28-74 in three seasons with Indiana.
Now Catchings, in the expanded role as GM also announced Tuesday, and Fever president and COO Allison Barber are betting big on Stanley to get the franchise righted.
She brings a sterling resume, full of success dating back more than four decades through a standout playing career and an illustrious coaching career at the college, professional and international levels.
As a player, Stanley led Immaculata College to AIAW titles in 1973 and 1974 and was named an All-American in 1975 and 1976. Both of those championship teams were inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
She might have been an even better coach, though.
Stanley led Old Dominion to back-to-back AIAW titles in 1979 and 1980 before leading the Monarchs to the 1985 NCAA title. She was named the Sun Belt coach of the year in 1984 and 1985 and later added the 1993 Pac-10 coach of the year award to her resume before finishing her 21-year college tenure with a record 415-224.
But Stanley was far from finished.
She was selected as the 2002 WNBA coach of the year with the Mystics, served as an assistant on Rutgers’ 2007 Final Four team and after serving stints as an assistant with the Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty returned to Washington in 2010.
Stanley also was the head coach for the U.S. national team at the 1985 Women’s Junior World Championships and won a gold medal at the 1986 Goodwill Games and a bronze medal at the 1991 Pan American Games, both as an assistant.
Now the 2002 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee is getting another chance to be a head coach.
“I felt a connection, a fire and an excitement about stepping on board,” she said. “Tamika is the embodiment of the type of competitor and champion we hope to develop with the Fever. I look forward to working together with Tamika, Allison and the outstanding, talented core group of Fever players in the quest to build a championship culture and mindset here in Indianapolis.”