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Karleen Thompson joins Virginia women’s basketball coaching staff

The WNBA veteran will serve as former teammate Tina Thompson’s associate head coach.

Sparks celebrate

Virginia women’s basketball announced the addition of associate head coach Karleen Thompson to new head coach Tina Thompson’s staff.

Karleen Thompson comes to Charlottesville from the WNBA, where she most recently was with the Atlanta Dream. Tina and Karleen have a longstanding relationship, as a former teammates at the University of Southern California and as a player-coach pairing.

Tina, the first draft pick in WNBA history, was selected No. 1 overall in 1997 by the Houston Comets and remained with the team until 2008. Karleen spent time on the Comets coaching staff from 2005-08, spending two seasons as an assistant coach and one year at the helm before the team folded.

In addition to coaching throughout the WNBA, Thompson also served a stint as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Clemson from 2010-13. She returned to the WNBA as the associate head coach of the Atlanta Dream from 2013-17.

“Karleen has a great basketball mind and a keen understanding of how to motivate young women,” Tina Thompson said in a release. “She will be instrumental in the day to day development of our players and operations, as well as the execution of our overall vision. The most exciting thing for me is that she’s yet another member of our staff that has done all the things we want our kids to do, the things they want to accomplish for themselves. All at a high level, very exciting times for Virginia Women’s Basketball.”

Her familiarity with the ACC thanks to her time at Clemson is also definitely a bonus.

She’ll join La’Keshia Frett Meredith and Katherine Graham, who have been with the Cavaliers for six and three seasons, respectively, to round out Tina Thompson’s coaching staff.