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Virginia Cavaliers hire Tina Thompson as head women’s basketball coach

WNBA legend becomes UVA’s fifth head coach in program history

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NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Hall of Fame Press Conference Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers women’s basketball program announced that Tina Thompson, the first-ever pick in the WNBA Draft and recently the associate head coach of the Texas Longhorns, will be the next head coach in Charlottesville.

Thompson was a star at the University of Southern California and was drafted first overall by the Houston Comets in the inaugural WNBA Draft in 1997. After winning four WNBA titles with the Comets, Thompson played overseas with two return stints to the WNBA.

She retired from playing professionally in 2014, and was hired as an assistant coach at Texas in March 2015. In September 2017, Thompson was named an associate head coach for the Longhorns.

In a statement accompanying the announcement of her hiring, Thompson said, “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to become the next women’s basketball coach at the University of Virginia. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a program with such a rich history. This program is in an exciting place with a hardworking group of young ladies. It is my intention to continue the winning ways coach Joanne Boyle has built with this impressionable group.

“I am excited about meeting my team, getting to know them and pouring into them.”

Thompson replaces Joanne Boyle, who retired from coaching at the end of the 2018 season in order to complete the process of adopting her daughter Ngoty. Virginia was 129-99 under Boyle, with the 2018 NCAA Tournament being the Cavaliers’ first—and last—of the Boyle era.

Athletic director Carla Williams—no stranger to the world of elite college basketball, especially in the women’s game—heaped praise on the new hire. “She is one of the best to ever play the game and she has experienced tremendous success at all levels of the game. I am looking forward to working with her and supporting her vision for Virginia basketball.

“She has a strong commitment to and passion for developing confident, successful women,” Williams continued. “As a coach, she has proven to be a tremendous teacher and recruiter. I’m excited for the future of our program.”

Thompson will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in June.