WNBA owners agreed on one last item at meetings last week to help everyone survive a tough economy — limiting coaching staffs to one head coach and one assistant. That means the Storm will lose either Nancy Darsch or Shelly Patterson (pictured right).
Storm coach Brian Agler, who’s also director of player personnel, made the decision, but it’s not expected to be announced until next week. Patterson, a holdover from Anne Donovan’s staff in 2007, has remained around during the offseason, but that doesn’t mean she’s retained the coveted position.
Darsch (pictured right) does have close ties to top free agent Katie Smith, who won a Big 10 championship at Ohio State with the coach. Smith reportedly will not relocate with her former Detroit team to Tulsa.
In a meeting with Force 10 Hoops, the Storm’s ownership group, co-owner Ginny Gilder said the reduction in basketball operations is a leveled elimination that will fairly impact everyone and sustain competition while trying to reach the ultimate goal of survival. The WNBA already folded charter-franchise Sacramento, holding a dispersal draft on Monday, and relocated Detroit to Tulsa.
“It’s the same reason that every other company has been cutting their expenses,” said Gilder in an interview at the Storm offices this evening. “You do what you can to live to fight another day. It doesn’t mean it’s permanent. It doesn’t mean it will be this way forever. But the commitment is to make it through the recession.”
The WNBA owners also agreed to keep the 11-player rosters despite 11 jobs being eliminated due to the loss of the Monarchs. No other options were discussed.
Los Angeles (Marianne Stanley) and New York, which had none after then-interim coach Donovan was hired in July, have already experienced a season with limited staff. Agler shuttered at the thought when asked last summer, joking that he already didn’t have a big enough staff.