Multiple names continue to arise in the discussion as to who the newest head coach of the New York Liberty will be.
— Winsidr (@TheWinsidr) December 12, 2019
News broke Thursday morning by Winsidr that Vickie Johnson (Las Vegas Aces), Walt Hopkins (Minnesota Lynx) and Steve Smith (previously Connecticut Sun) are currently in the running for the position. Multiple sources confirm all three had interviewed. Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve also alluded to Hopkins interviewing for the job on her most recent show.
— High Post Hoops (@HighPostHoops) December 13, 2019
A day later, High Post Hoops announced the addition of Eric Thibault (Washington Mystics) to the shortlist of names in the running. Eric is currently one of the hottest names in up-and-coming coaches within the league, especially following their 2019 WNBA Championship with the Mystics. High Post Hoops did not mention Vickie Johnson. Given the fact that it was confirmed that she interviewed, this leads me to believe she is no longer in the mix, and her contract will be renewed with Las Vegas.
If I were a betting woman, I'd say she's out of the mix. Eric Thibault makes the most sense for this hire, in my opinion. He's a fresh new face in terms of the next generation of WNBA head coaches, he's proven himself as an assistant and he's proven to connect with this next generation of players. He holds all of the tools and understanding of what it takes to win a WNBA championship coming off their 2019 run. But will this be his opportunity? Time will tell.
The New York Liberty parted ways with Hall of Famer Katie Smith back in mid-October after compiling an overall record of 17-51 in her two seasons. Since then, the Liberty announced a move of venue and will join the Nets and play their 2020 season in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. They also obtained the No. 1 draft selection following the lottery.
All eyes are on the New York Liberty right now as one of the hottest teams with a ton of potential and momentum headed into the future. And with the right coach, one of the oldest WNBA franchises has a real opportunity to climb back to the top.