After being denied entry into the WNBA Bubble in Bradenton, Florida last season as his team made a run to its fourth championship, Dan Hughes is back on the basketball court.
The Seattle Storm head coach is now fully vaccinated and in San Antonio, Texas this week helping the USA women’s national team prepare for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
“I was just really lucky,” said Hughes via ESPN this week. “I was one of those people that got it pretty early because they had an extra vaccine that was going to go to waste. They called me and said, ‘Hey can you get here?’”
Hughes’ travel to the WNBA campus at IMG Academy was rejected last season due to his increased risk for severe illness if he contracted COVID-19. The 65-year-old had surgery in May 2019 to remove a cancerous tumor, which required him to miss nine games with the Storm.
Hughes still coached from his home in Ohio last season, while Gary Kloppenburg took on an increased role with his on-court presence as the Storm won their second championship in three years.
Now, Hughes, assistant coach of the U.S. women’s national team, has returned to the court while head coach Dawn Staley looks to lead her South Carolina Gamecocks to a national championship in the NCAA Tournament.
He’s joined by a few familiar faces too.
“I feel very blessed that I am doing what I’ve done most of my life and being able to interact with players and being on the court and looking at the game from that standpoint,” the Storm coach said.
Welcome back, Coach Hughes!