Northwest

Seattle Storm coach Dan Hughes retires from WNBA

Northwest

After an extensive coaching career spanning across cities such as Charlotte, Cleveland, San Antonio and Seattle, Dan Hughes is retiring from the WNBA.

The Seattle Storm announced Hughes’ retirement on Sunday in a post on Twitter. 

“After over 40 years of coaching basketball, I want to finish my career with the focus and determination with which I started,” said Hughes in a statement. “The Seattle Storm is in amazing shape, after two championships and a terrific playoff run in 2019, I would like to announce my retirement from the WNBA.

"I believe now is the right time because the team is performing well, but the rigors of being a head coach in the WNBA have taken their toll on me. I look forward to coaching with USA Basketball at the 2021 Olympics then leveraging my experience to give back to the game in other ways. Mary and I value the relationships we have formed in Seattle over the past four years and want to thank everyone for their ongoing support.”

 

In 2018, his first year in Seattle, Hughes helped lead the Storm to a league-best 26-8 record as Seattle clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. That year, the team went on to sweep the Washington Mystics to earn its third franchise title.

In 2019, the Storm posted an 18-16 record without an injured Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird, finished third in the West, and fell in the second round of the WNBA playoffs to the Los Angeles Sparks. That year, Hughes was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his appendix. He was able to return after nine games with assistant Gary Kloppenburg serving as head coach during his absence. 

Seattle bounced back the next season inside the WNBA "Wubble," but Hughes was not on the sidelines. Following a medical assessment by the league, Hughes was determined to be at higher risk for severe illness if he contracted the coronavirus. The Storm won it's fourth championship after closing out top-ranked Las Vegas in three games. 

Hughes began his WNBA coaching career as an assistant in Charlotte in 1999 before becoming head coach in Cleveland the following year. Hughes coached the Rockers for four seasons and then the San Antonio Stars from 2005-16, although he didn't coach in 2010, as he held the title of general manager.

While Hughes will no longer be with the Storm, he isn’t immediately stepping away from the basketball court. The 66-year-old coach will remain assistant coach for USA Basketball in this year’s upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.

Taking over head coaching duties for the Storm will be former Seattle shooting guard Noelle Quinn. Gary Kloppenburg, Ryan Webb and Perry Huang will continue to serve as assistant coaches.

“I am excited to hand the reins to Noelle,” Hughes said on Storm.com.” She is well positioned to do this job and I am proud to have mentored her during my time here. I look forward to her and the team’s ongoing success."

So far this season, the Storm have a 5-1 record and the second best record in the WNBA.

Hughes leaves behind a coaching career that boasts the second-most games coached in WNBA history (598) and the third-most wins with 286. Congrats Coach Hughes on your retirement!