Chicago Sky head coach James Wade has been named the 2019 WNBA Coach of the Year, the WNBA announced today. Wade becomes the first Chicago coach to earn the honor in the franchise’s 14-year history.
Wade received 27 votes from a national panel of 43 sportswriters and broadcasters. Mike Thibault of the Washington Mystics received 12 votes, Dan Hughes of the Seattle Storm received 2 votes and Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Sparks and Curt Miller of the Connecticut Sun rounded out the votes with one each.
In Wade’s first season as a WNBA head coach, the Sky finished with a 20-14 record to earn the No. 5 seed in the 2019 WNBA Playoffs. Chicago hosts the eighth-seeded Phoenix Mercury in a first-round, single-elimination game tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Wade guided the Sky to a seven-win improvement from last season (13-21) and its third-best record ever. Chicago’s other two seasons with at least 20 victories were in 2013 (24-10) and 2015 (21-13).
Under Wade, the Sky ranked second in the WNBA in points (84.6 ppg) and assists (21.6 apg) and third in field goal percentage (44.8). Guards Diamond DeShields, Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot were selected as 2019 WNBA All-Stars. Vandersloot broke her own WNBA single-season records for assist average (9.1) and total assists (300).
Wade was hired by the Sky as head coach and general manager in November 2018 after spending two seasons as an assistant coach under head coach Cheryl Reeve with the Minnesota Lynx. He was a part of the coaching staff that led Minnesota to the 2017 WNBA championship. Before joining the Lynx, Wade served on current Seattle Storm head coach Dan Hughes’ coaching staff with the San Antonio Stars from 2012-16.
A Memphis, Tenn., native, Wade played college basketball at Middle Tennessee State, Chattanooga State and Kennesaw State. He played professionally in Europe for nearly 13 years.
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