The Dallas Wings are hiring former WNBA player Vickie Johnson to be their new head coach, according to The Athletic.
The hiring comes after former Dallas head coach Brian Agler mutually agreed to part ways with the Wings on October 14.
Johnson is now the only woman of color head coach in the league after players and fans expressed concern for the puzzling lack of representation currently at the head coaching level.
The day after Agler left the Wings franchise, the WNBAPA expressed their intentions for a woman of color to take over in Dallas.
The Wings met the demands of the player’s union, hiring a woman of color who has played in the WNBA and can relate to her players by fully understanding the rigors of the league.
Johnson joins Sandy Brondello as the only former WNBA player to currently occupy a head coaching position in the WNBA.
Johnson spent thirteen seasons in the WNBA playing for the inaugural New York Liberty (1997-2005) and the San Antonio Silver Stars (2006-2009). She was an All-Star twice (1999, 2001) and finished her career averaging 10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game.
Since retiring, Johnson has nine seasons of coaching experience with the San Antonio Stars/Las Vegas Aces franchise. With over twenty years of basketball experience playing and coaching, Johnson is more than ready to be a head coach in the WNBA.
This will be Johnson’s second head coaching gig, the first being in 2017 when she was the Stars’ head coach. The Stars did not have a good season, finishing 8-26. However, like many head coaches in the NBA, Johnson deserves another shot to succeed.
The Dallas Wings are a juicy situation for Johnson to enter considering they already have two franchise players under the age of 24 in Arike Ogonbowale and Satou Sabally. Dallas just missed the playoffs during Arike and Satou’s first season playing together, finishing 8-14 as the ninth seed.
With Arike, Satou, and the upcoming No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, the Wings are loaded with young talent and are probably very close to being ready for a legitimate playoff run. Johnson is going to be tasked with developing the Wings into contenders.
Johnson will be helped by former Liberty teammate and current assistant coach Crystal Robinson, who has four years of WNBA coaching experience under her belt (Mystics 2009, Storm 2018, Wings 2019-present).
Robinson and Johnson played seven seasons together with the Liberty from 1999-2005 and will now have a shot to coach together with the Wings.
It’s really cool that the young Wings roster will be coached by two former longtime teammates. Johnson and Robinson went to three WNBA Finals together (1999, 2000, 2002) losing all three games to the Houston Comets twice and the Los Angeles Sparks once.
Together, the two coaches made the playoffs six times. They know what a playoff-caliber team looks like, as they have enough playoff experience to last an eternity. Johnson and Robinson can use what they learned to prepare Dallas’s young and inexperienced roster for competing in the playoffs.
Robinson’s relationship with Johnson will be so vital at the beginning of Vickie’s tenure. Robinson has spent the last two seasons with Dallas and is familiar with and understands the current Wings roster. Robinson can help Johnson get acclimated to the team and learn her new players.
However, at the moment it is unclear if Robinson and another assistant coach Bryce Agler will be returning to the Wings under Johnson. They are still apart of the Wings roster, but it is unclear if Johnson will be able to choose her own assistants or if Dallas is going to keep their incumbent personnel.
Vickie Johnson has not been officially announced by the Wings organization, which the announcement coming Wednesday, December 9. We will probably learn more information at that time.
The Dallas Wings made a great decision to hire Vickie Johnson to be their next head coach. The former WNBA All-Star is fit to lead the next generation of WNBA stars playing for the Wings.
The Dallas Wings appear to be trending upwards.
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(AP Photo/LM Otero)