New York Liberty legend Teresa Weatherspoon will serve as a full-time assistant coach under Stan Van Gundy.
Teresa Weatherspoon and a Van Gundy indirectly united to create hardwood magic at the turn of the century in the Big Apple. That magic is on its way to the Big Easy.
The New Orleans Pelicans announced a series of adjustments to their coaching staff on Monday, headlined by the promotion of Weatherspoon, who will take a full-time assistant coach position with the NBA franchise. She will work under newly-minted head coach Stan Van Gundy, the brother of former New York Knicks boss Jeff, whose New York tenure (1996-2001) overlapped with Weatherspoon’s glory days.
Weatherspoon, 54, joined the team last season as a player development coach and spent her time between the Pelicans and the Erie BayHawks, their G League affiliate. Now, Weatherspoon becomes the eighth woman to serve on an NBA bench, joining fellow Liberty legend and longtime San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon.
Weatherspoon partook in the first seven seasons of Liberty basketball (1997-2003), appearing in five WNBA All-Star Games and three WNBA Finals. She is perhaps best known for launching the most famous shot in WNBA history, a desperation three-pointer from beyond half-court that allowed the Liberty to steal a Finals win from the Houston Comets in the 1999 championship series. Weatherspoon also earned the first two WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards and currently ranks 12th all-time in assists (1,338) and 21st in steals (465). Induction into the Naismith Memorial Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame awaited Weatherspoon last season. She has since been named to the WNBA’s anniversary teams in 2011 and 2016.
Weatherspoon retired after a single season in Los Angeles in 2004. Since then, she has been involved in several coaching positions, including a variety of front office and player development roles with the Liberty in the six seasons before receiving the call from New Orleans. She also served as the head coach at her alma mater of Louisiana Tech for five-plus seasons (2009-14), taking them to a pair of NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournaments (2010, 2011).
Another New Orleans hire with a local connection is Beno Udrih, The two-time NBA champion and former first-round pick spent part of last year’s shortened G League campaign with the Knicks’ affiliate in Westchester as an assistant, his first coaching position.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags