NEW YORK — 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.

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.

Below are the voting results for the 2019 WNBA Coach of the Year Award as well as a list of past recipients.


Coach                               Team                                                                Votes

James Wade                    Chicago Sky                                                         27

Mike Thibault                   Washington Mystics                                             12

Dan Hughes                      Seattle Storm                                                           2

Derek Fisher                     Los Angeles Sparks                                                1

Curt Miller                        Connecticut Sun                                                     1


2019          James Wade                                Chicago Sky

2018          Nicki Collen                                  Atlanta Dream

2017          Curt Miller                                    Connecticut Sun

2016          Cheryl Reeve                                Minnesota Lynx

2015          Bill Laimbeer                                New York Liberty

2014          Sandy Brondello                           Phoenix Mercury

2013          Mike Thibault                               Washington Mystics

2012          Carol Ross                                    Los Angeles Sparks

2011          Cheryl Reeve                                Minnesota Lynx

2010          Brian Agler                                   Seattle Storm

2009          Marynell Meadors                        Atlanta Dream

2008          Mike Thibault                               Connecticut Sun

2007          Dan Hughes                                  San Antonio Silver Stars

2006          Mike Thibault                               Connecticut Sun              

2005          John Whisenant                            Sacramento Monarchs

2004          Suzie McConnell-Serio                Minnesota Lynx

2003          Bill Laimbeer                                Detroit Shock

2002          Marianne Stanley                          Washington Mystics

2001          Dan Hughes                                 Cleveland Rockers

2000          Michael Cooper                            Los Angeles Sparks

1999          Van Chancellor                             Houston Comets

1998          Van Chancellor                             Houston Comets

1997          Van Chancellor                             Houston Comets




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