In a surprising but not unexpected move, the Storm have fired head coach Jenny Boucek and replaced her with assistant Gary Kloppenburg.
For the Seattle Storm, something needed to happen if they wanted to have any chance to make the WNBA playoffs. It looks like president and GM Alisha Valavanis decided that a change in head coach might be the answer.
On Thursday, the Storm announced they had fired third-year head coach Jenny Boucek effective immediately. She will be replaced by assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg for the duration of the 2017 season.
Most fans who watch the WNBA thought that it was a good possibility that Boucek would not be back next year. The Storm went into the 2017 season with high expectations of a deep playoff run and instead might not even make the postseason. They currently sit at 10-16 and are fighting with the Atlanta Dream and Chicago Sky for the eighth and final playoff spot.
However, few thought the Storm would make a move with just eight games left in the season. But that is exactly what Valavanis did, obviously hoping a change with give the Storm the push they need to finish strong and win some games.
NEWS | Storm announces head coaching change, names Gary Kloppenburg Interim Head Coach
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) August 10, 2017
Boucek finishes her time with Seattle with a record of 36-58 and a whole lot of questions about her coaching. Rumors were rampant all season that players were questioning the decisions Boucek was making during games and that despite talk to the contrary, Breanna Stewart was still playing a ridiculous number of minutes.
In spite of the problems, Valavanis wished Boucek well and thanked her for the work she did in Seattle.
“I believe new leadership is needed at this time to give our team the best chance at short and long term success. I am grateful for the passion and commitment Jenny has demonstrated throughout her time with the Seattle Storm. She has been an important part of our organization and we wish her well in the next steps of her career.”
Kloppenburg brings a wealth of coaching experience to the job, including stints with the Phoenix Mercury, Tulsa Shock, Indiana Fever and Los Angeles Sparks as well as the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. If he will have the “interim” tag removed before next season will likely largly depend on if the Storm make the playoffs or not.
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As I said, there was little chance that Boucek was going to be back next season, even if the team did make the postseason. Making the move with eight games left obviously shows that the Storm front office are serious about wanting to win now and are not worried about how they might improve in the loaded WNBA Draft.
Seattle next takes the court against the Mercury in Phoenix on August 12 before a two-game homestand that might decide if they get to continue playing past the end of the regular season.