Former WNBA player Tanisha Wright, who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the Las Vegas Aces, is the new head coach for the Atlanta Dream, the franchise announced Tuesday.
Wright, 37, played 14 years in the league from 2005 to 2019, with 10 seasons in Seattle, where she was the starting guard when the Storm won the 2010 championship. During her career, she averaged 7.3 points and 2.6 rebounds.
She takes over an Atlanta team that went 8-24 this season. The Dream last made the playoffs in 2018.
“It’s an honor to be chosen as head coach for the Atlanta Dream, and I’m excited to play a role in building a successful organization centered around the player experience,” Wright said in a statement. “I have been part of championship teams and understand what it takes to win in this league. I look forward to bringing my talents to this franchise and helping the Dream achieve success.”
Wright becomes the fifth Black coach in the 12-team league, joining former WNBA players Vickie Johnson (Dallas) and Noelle Quinn (Seattle), former NBA player Derek Fisher (Los Angeles) and James Wade (Chicago).
“Tanisha is widely respected across the league, and as with all great leaders, she will set a strong example for our team,” Dream co-owner Renee Montgomery said.
The Dream have gone through a lot of turmoil in the past two years, being sold to new ownership after players were in opposition to former co-owner Kelly Loeffler. General manager Chris Sienko was fired shortly after April’s draft, and coach Nicki Collen left the Dream just before the start of the season to take the women’s basketball job at Baylor.
Assistant Mike Petersen became interim head coach but stepped down in July for health reasons and was replaced by another assistant, Darius Taylor.
Chennedy Carter, selected No. 4 overall in the 2020 draft, was suspended by the Dream on July 5 for “conduct detrimental to the team.” She did not play the rest of the 2021 season.
Then last week, the agent for players Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford said he was told the Dream won’t bring them back next season after their involvement in a fight in May came to light, even though the team had been made aware of the altercation soon after it happened. Montgomery told ESPN that the team didn’t realize the extent of the fight until recently.