Karen Bryant, the only CEO and president the Storm has had in its 15-year history, roamed the team practices and closed scrimmages this season as she’s done in the past. But back at the Storm offices in Interbay, however, she’s preparing for her exit as the team’s top executive.
Bryant announced in January this will be her final season with the Storm, although she doesn’t know her next career move. She originally thought her final day would be at the end of the season, which could be in September if the Storm were to make a historic 11th straight playoff appearance.
But on Saturday, Bryant shared that her last “official day” will actually be July 31. Seattle hosts Indiana at KeyArena that night. The Fever is the Storm’s sister franchise, joining the WNBA together in 2000. Miami and Portland were the other teams that created the league’s zenith of 16 teams. Those franchises folded in 2003 and the WNBA currently has 12 teams.
“We agreed that having a transition before the end of the season was in the best interest of the franchise,” Bryant said of the Storm. “Our offseason is long and I’ve been the only CEO this organization has ever known. Having an opportunity for my successor to come in and be visible — whether they sit courtside or wherever they decide to sit — we felt it was important to have a visible change in leadership while we were still in-season.”
Force 10 Hoops, the ownership group of the Storm, hasn’t finalized a pool of candidates for Bryant’s replacement. Storm associate head coach Jenny Boucek said it best when stating you don’t simply replace Bryant and all of her history and knowledge of the city, women’s basketball, the Storm and WNBA.
“We’re actively working on it,” co-owner Dawn Trudeau said of the process.
Bryant said she already has her “lifetime” seats picked out in KeyArena, looking at Section 128.
She’s currently working with her staff in launching the 2014 season. Seattle is expecting a sellout (9,686) for the season-opener on May 16 at KeyArena against Los Angeles. One of the biggest draws will be the return of All-Star PG Sue Bird, who missed the 2013 season to rehabilitate from off-season left knee surgery.
“There’s going to be a lot (of marketing) around our 15th anniversary. It’s a significant milestone for the franchise,” said Bryant, whose organization is also celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its fist WNBA championship in 2004. “At the same time, we’re going to be making sure we’re doing a good job of marketing the players. We’ve got a lot of new faces this year, so that’s a good opportunity to show some fresh faces and some young talent in the league. But the ’15th’ will be a real pillar this year from a marketing standpoint.”