Chicago

Sky announce 4-year extension for head coach, GM James Wade

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The Sky announced a four-year extension for general manager and head coach James Wade on Thursday. The deal runs through the 2025 season.

“I feel like I found a home,” Wade said in a statement. “I truly appreciate the organization for trusting in me and seeing me as a part of their future. I feel extremely fortunate and am excited to lead this franchise to what we hope will be many successful seasons to come.”

Wade, who won WNBA Coach of the Year honors in 2019, his first season with the team, owns the best regular-season winning percentage for a head coach in franchise history. The Sky are 32-24 (.571) in his two years, and have earned back-to-back playoff berths. The Sky's above-.500 finishes in each of his two seasons mark the fourth and fifth times in their 15 years that they have finished with more wins than losses.

While Wade typically coaches in Russia during the WNBA offseason, he opted not to in 2020-21 to spend time with family at his home in France, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in December.

Wade's high-octane offensive system was a revelation for the Sky in 2019, when they finished first in the WNBA in PACE (averaging 99.5 possessions per game), and second in offensive rating. They finished fourth in each category in the 2020 campaign, which was held in the IMG Academy bubble in Bradenton, Fla.

That season featured star point guard Courtney Vandersloot smashing myriad records, multiple key injuries and ultimately a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Connecticut Sun.

 

“James has done a remarkable job of establishing a winning environment, culture, and team camaraderie,” Sky owner Michael Alter said. “He is an excellent teacher and coach, both on and off the court. This well-deserved extension represents continuity for our team and we are proud to have James lead us forward.”

Should he finish out the duration of the extension, Wade will be the longest tenured head coach and general manager (2018-2025) in Sky history.

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