AP source: Katie Smith next coach of the New York Liberty
NEW YORK (AP) – Katie Smith will be the next coach of the New York Liberty, according to a person with knowledge of the hiring.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday night because no deal has been announced.
Smith has been an assistant with the Liberty since she retired as a WNBA player in 2013. She was promoted to associate head coach in 2016.
She takes over for Bill Laimbeer, who served as Liberty coach from 2013-17. He left to become coach and general manager with the San Antonio Stars after they are sold and relocated, according to a different person familiar with that situation. That person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.
This will be Smith’s first head coaching job.
The Liberty have finished with the league’s third best record the past two seasons, but lost in their opening playoff game each year. They return a solid group led by Tina Charles, Epiphanny Prince and Sugar Rodgers.
The 43-year-old Smith is among a handful of former players to make the jump to head coach. She’s also the third coaching hire in the league this offseason, joining Laimbeer and Dan Hughes – who was hired by Seattle. The Atlanta Dream still have an opening.
Smith had a stellar 17-year playing career in the WNBA and ABL. She is fifth on the WNBA scoring list and won two titles with the Detroit Shock, earning finals MVP honors in 2008. Smith also helped the U.S. win three Olympic gold medals.