May 23, 2016
The WNBA’s Indiana Fever head coach Stephanie White has been hired as the new head coach of the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team. She announced the news to the team this afternoon. White was one of three finalist that included Princeton coach Courtney Banghart and Notre Dame associate head coach Niele Ivey. After news broke that White had interviewed for the Vanderbilt coaching vacancy White said in a statement released by the Fever that, “It has always been a goal of mine to get back into college coaching at some point in my career, but it had to be the perfect opportunity in order for me to consider leaving this job that I love very much.”
White, who joined the Fever as a player in 1999 completed four seasons with the Fever (2000-01, 2003-04) before embarking on her coaching and broadcasting career. In just her second season as the head coach of the Indiana Fever, she brought the team within one game of the WNBA championship in 2015. White will not join Vanderbilt until after the Fever’s season, which she said needed to be agreed upon on by the school before considering the job. The Fever will be losing an incredible coach and it will be interesting to see how the team responds to their departing coach and if it at all will be a distraction during the season. Even still, White stressed that “Nothing changes in terms of my priority,” she said. “My priority is still the Fever and winning and the WNBA championship.”
It is likely that White will be paid significantly more in her new role with the Commodores. There seems to be more stability at the collegiate level than in the WNBA. In addition, White has always expressed her desire to return to the college ranks. “In the offseason, Stephanie made it known that she is interested in pursuing college coaching,” Fever President and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf said in the statement. This now leaves two WNBA head coaching vacancies at the end of the 2016 season. The other being the San Antonio Stars head coach Dan Hughes announcing his plan to retire after 16 years in the WNBA at the end of the season. Perhaps one of these vacancies will be filled by a former WNBA player. What do you think?