Washington Mystics General Manager Linda Hargrove hoped to have a coach in place by the time the team begins training camp Sunday, and yesterday she accomplished that goal by hiring former New York Liberty coach Richie Adubato. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
"I didn't know if it was going to happen for a couple days," Hargrove said. "We had some intense negotiations the last few days."
Richie Adubato, 67, becomes the eighth coach in the franchise's eight-year history and continues the recent trend by WNBA teams of hiring men with NBA experience.
(Ron Frehm - AP File Photo)
Adubato, 67, became the eighth coach in the franchise's eight-year history and continued the recent trend by WNBA teams of hiring men with NBA experience. This is the sixth time the Mystics will open the season with a different coach than the one they had the previous year.
"He is a great fit for us right now," Hargrove said. "If we had had several months to make this hire, I don't know if we could have made any better hire. I think Richie was anxious to get back into the WNBA -- he loves coaching women -- and we were anxious to have him as a coach."
Adubato was traveling to Washington from his home in Orlando and was not available to comment. He is expected to start work today.
"I am excited to join the Mystics organization and team," Adubato said in a statement released by the team. "MCI Center is a great place to play. Washington has a tremendous fan base."
Until he was fired by New York on July 3, Adubato was one of the WNBA's most successful coaches. He is only the third coach to amass 100 WNBA victories, joining Houston Comets Coach Van Chancellor and former Los Angeles Sparks coach Michael Cooper. Adubato, who is 100-79 overall in the WNBA, coached the Liberty to four playoff appearances and three Eastern Conference titles in 5 1/2 seasons. He was the East's all-star team coach in 2000, '01 and '03.
Before coaching in the WNBA, Adubato spent 19 years as an NBA coach and assistant coach, with stints in Detroit, Dallas, Orlando, New York and Cleveland. He twice led teams to the NBA playoffs.
"I can't imagine us getting someone that has more experience and success than Richie," Mystics player personnel consultant Pat Summitt said in a statement released by the team. "We are excited to have him in place, and we are anxious to get started."
Adubato will be reunited with his former assistant Jeff House, who was fired along with Adubato by the Liberty. Hargrove said Adubato will retain House and Marynell Meadors, who were hired this month as assistant coaches by former Mystics coach Michael Adams. Adams joined the coaching staff for the University of Maryland men's team.
Mystics Note: Hargrove said the team signed free agent guard Edwina Brown, a four-year WNBA veteran who did not play in the league last season. After spending her first three seasons in Detroit, she played for Phoenix in 2003. Tiffani Williams, a 6-foot-7 center from Hampton University, who participated in Tuesday's free agent tryout, has been invited to training camp.