New York Liberty head coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer announced on Tuesday that former WNBA All-Star Katie Smith has been named an assistant coach with the Liberty for the 2014 season. Smith joins Barbara Farris, also an assistant coach on the Liberty coaching staff, and replaces Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who served as an assistant coach in 2013.
“We are thrilled to have Katie join the Liberty coaching staff next season,” said Laimbeer. “Katie’s leadership and toughness, as well as her discipline for the game, will be invaluable to our entire team. In addition, her presence on the bench will go a long way in helping the Liberty push towards becoming a championship club.”
Smith spent the 2013 season – her final in the WNBA – with the Liberty, reuniting with Laimbeer who she won two titles with as a member of the Detroit Shock (now Tulsa). She retired after the 2013 campaign, finishing her 17-year playing career as the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball and second in WNBA history.
“I’m very happy to be back with the Liberty as an assistant coach,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to learning about the game from the other side and doing what I can to help this team compete at a high level every night. Basketball has been a passion and love of mine for so long, I’m excited to remain close to the game.”
A 15-year veteran of the WNBA, Smith was a seven-time All-Star and two-time First Team All-WNBA selection. She won WNBA Championships in 2006 and 2008 with the Shock, and in 2011 was voted one of the Top 15 Players in WNBA history. She ranks first in the WNBA in both three-point field goals made (906) and attempted (2,466), second in career points (6,452), fourth in free throws made (1,440) and 10th in all-time assists (1,258).
Smith boasts career averages of 13.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game during the regular season in addition to shooting 36.7 percent from the three-point range. In eight playoff appearances, she has totals of 12.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. She played for five franchises – Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, Seattle and New York – during her WNBA career.
Smith is the all-time leading scorer in the history of U.S. women’s professional basketball (ABL & WNBA) with 7,885 career points. Smith signed with the WNBA in 1999, joining Minnesota after a two-year stint in the ABL. Her success also extended to the international level, having won three Olympic Gold Medals in 2000, 2004 and 2008.