When Connecticut Sun management fired Mike Thibault in November, the only coach its organization had ever had, it put a disappointing exclamation point on its 10th season in the WNBA.
It also created a predicament for the franchise. The Sun needed to prove to its dismissal of Thibault, just one win away from the 2012 WNBA Finals, should be interpreted as justifiable.
And the only way the Sun was going to do that was to find a replacement with enough experience and credibility to calm its young team and veteran fan base.
On Thursday, the Sun introduced its selection, former Olympic and four-time WNBA coach Anne Donovan.
“Anne was a great coach,” said Sun guard Kalana Greene, who played for Donovan as a rookie in New York in 2010. “And she has a tremendous resume.”
Donovan, 51, who won a WNBA title in Seattle in 2006 and Olympic gold in 2008 a coach in 2008, comes to the Sun from Seton Hall, where she hasn’t won much of anything for the last 2 ½ seasons.
Donovan was the coach of the New York Liberty in 2010 when she accepted an offer to replace Phyllis Mangina as Seton Hall’s coach. Seton Hall allowed Donovan to complete the season with the Liberty before coming to campus just two months before the start of practice.
A native of New Jersey, and one of the greatest players in the history of women’s college basketball at Old Dominion, the Lady Pirates hoped Donovan’s national reputation would help bring a better quality of player to the program.
Not only didn’t that happen, Seton Hall won only two of the 32 conference games Donovan coached prior to this season. It’s only win last season came against Pittsburgh, who finished the season 0-16 in the Big East