Halfway through Noelle Quinn’s first season as head coach, the Seattle Storm brass have seen enough to know she is the future.
With 14 games as a WNBA head coach under her belt, and her team sitting in first place in the western conference, Quinn’s work was rewarded Thursday as the Storm handed her a multiyear contract extension. Specific terms and details were not released, per team policy.
“I would like to thank the Storm owners and management for entrusting me with the opportunity to continue to lead such a talented group of women,” Quinn said in a team-issued release Thursday. “Over my career, I’ve been blessed to play for and coach alongside some of the best coaches in our game which has helped prepare me for this position.”
Quinn originally joined the team’s coaching staff as an assistant in 2019 before moving into the associate head coach role ahead of the 2020 season. She was then promoted to head coach May 30 following the sudden retirement of Dan Hughes seven games into the 2021 season.
The appointment made Quinn the 19th Black woman to hold the position in league history and the first Black head coach in Storm history. She is one of just two Black women currently leading a franchise in the WNBA, along with Dallas Wings’ head coach Vickie Johnson.
Quinn also is the only person in league history to win championships as a coach and a player, and will attempt to repeat the feat, this time as a head coach, in 2021. It’s something the Storm’s front office fully believes she and the team are capable of doing.
“Noelle’s experience as a player and a coach as well as her strategic vision for Storm basketball makes her a fantastic choice for our future,” said Talisa Rhea, the Storm’s general manager. “Her love for the game and her passion for excellence serve as a great foundation from which to keep building our franchise.”
In 14 games as head coach, Seattle is 10-4, and have clinched a place in the inaugural Commissioner’s Cup Final against the Connecticut Sun on Aug. 12 with an overall record of 16-5. The team is shooting 39.2% from the three-point line and averages 21.6 assists per game, both of which lead the WNBA. Seattle’s average of 86.4 points per game is second in the league behind the Las Vegas Aces.
Quinn also has fixed the team’s defensive issues. Upon her appointment, Seattle was ranked 10th in points allowed per game. At the Olympic break, opponents are only managing to score 79.7 points per game against the Storm, good enough to be the No. 3 defense in the WNBA.
A standout guard at UCLA during her collegiate career, Quinn was drafted No. 4 overall by the Minnesota Lynx in 2007. During her 12-year career, she spent time with San Antonio, Washington, Phoenix and two separate stints with Seattle, winning the 2018 WNBA Championship with the Storm before retiring. Quinn finished her playing career with 1,824 points, 1,011 rebounds, 878 assists and 256 steals in 382 games.
And she won’t be leaving anytime soon.
“The loyalty and support that our fans show epitomize the pride this city has for the Storm,” Quinn said. “My time in Seattle has been so special and I look forward to continuing to uphold the standard of excellence our organization shows both on the court and in the community.”