Former LSU head coach and current head coach of the Eurleague powerhouse Spartak Moscow Region Pokey Chatman was named head coach of the Chicago Sky.  In a press conference naming the addition of Chatman to the Sky bench and front office, owner Michael Alter had high praise for Chatman.

From Sky Press Release:

Euroleague Champion Coach Named Next
Chicago Sky General Manager and Head Coach

CHICAGO, October 29, 2010 – The Chicago Sky named Pokey Chatman General Manager and Head Coach announced the Sky’s Principle Owner Michael Alter today.

“Following the 2010 season I made a commitment to Sky fans to bring in a head coach and general manager with a proven record of winning at the highest level; someone who could establish a culture of excellence where winning is not only expected, but demanded,” said Alter.

“Pokey knows how to lead. She has demonstrated success at both the professional and college levels. She brings a deep knowledge of basketball combined with an intensity and commitment to winning that is among the very best in women’s basketball. Although demanding and driven, players respond positively to Pokey and I anticipate that her leadership will help the Sky become a championship team.”

As a head coach at the professional level Chatman led the Russian Spartak Moscow Region to a perfect 16-0 Euroleague record and the 2010 Euroleague Championship, the most prized championship in the most competitive European basketball league. On the season, Spartak averaged a 20-point margin of victory while scoring 87.5 points per game. Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles was second on Spartak in scoring at 14.1 points per game. Fowles also averaged 8.8 rebounds per game, a team-high. Sky guard Epiphanny Prince began the 2009-10 Euroleague season with Spartak before being loaned out to Botas Spor (Turkey). This season Prince will play the full year for Spartak, under Chatman.

Chatman was promoted to the head position after two seasons as an assistant. Spartak also won the Euroleague championship in both seasons. In addition to Fowles, Chatman has coached a host of perennial WNBA All-Stars while at Spartak including 2010 WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird from the Seattle Storm and the 2009 WNBA MVP Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury.

Chatman was officially named the fourth head coach in LSU women’s basketball history on April 26, 2004. As head coach Chatman took the Lady Tigers to consecutive NCAA Final Fours and won consecutive Southeastern Conference regular season titles. As Acting Head Coach Chatman coached in her first Final Four at the end of the 2003-04 season after Sue Gunter was forced to take a medical leave of absence midway through the season. Through her first 50 games as head coach, Chatman built a 47-3 record, the second best start to a coaching career in women’s basketball history.

For her achievements in the 2004-05 season Chatman was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year, Naismith National Coach of the Year and the Victor Award Female Coach of the Year. Chatman was an All-American point guard at LSU from 1987-1991. After that she served in a variety of capacities in the LSU basketball program.

In 2009, Chatman also coached the historically noncompetitive Slovakian National Team to within a free throw of qualifying for the World Championships.

“It’s a great honor to be named head coach and general manager of the Chicago Sky,” said Chatman. “It’s clear that my job is to come to Chicago and help turn the Sky into a winner. I’m confident that with the base of players we have here, that we will be able to achieve that goal.

“I’m looking forward to coaching in a city that has such a great basketball tradition and I’m excited to get in the gym and get to work with the talented athletes on the Sky roster.”


Chicago Sky to Hold Press Conference to Announce Next General Manager and Head Coach

Chicago Sky Principle Owner Michael Alter will introduce the team’s next General Manager and Head Coach to the press on Friday, October 29.

Under former head coach Steve Key, the Sky  finished with a disapointing 14-20 record in their 2010 campaign, last in the eastern conference.  With the addition of scoring threats Shameka Christon and Catherine Kraayveld, the Sky had hoped to reach new heights this season, but that never came to fruition.  Now with the WNBA lottery being held on November 2nd and the Sky one of three teams eligible for the top pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft, the time was now to have their leadership in place.

Elizabeth Cambage

Maya Moore

The good news for Chicago is they could potentially get the chance to draft projected top pick Maya Moore out of the University of Connecticut or the highly touted 6-foot 8-inch Elizabeth Cambage out of Australia. The two recently met in the FIBA World Championships as representatives for their respective countries.

The Chicago Sky, one of seven independently owned teams in the WNBA, wrapped up its fifth season as a member of the WNBA’s Eastern Conference. Sky All-Star center Sylvia Fowles and rookie guard Epiphanny Prince led the Sky through its first season at its new home, Allstate Arena.

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Denise J. Saul is the Founder/President of WSEN-Women's Sports & Entertainment Network.

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