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Virginia hires Tina Thompson as women’s basketball coach

FILE - Former WNBA player Tina Thompson, right, speaks during a news conference for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2018 announcement, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in San Antonio. (Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)
FILE - Former WNBA player Tina Thompson, right, speaks during a news conference for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2018 announcement, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in San Antonio. (Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press)
Associated Press

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia hired former WNBA star Tina Thompson on Monday to coach its women’s basketball team.

The 43-year-old Thompson has never been a head coach before, but she brings quite a resume to Virginia. She was the WNBA’s career scoring leader until she was passed by Diana Taurasi last summer. Thompson also is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a four-time WNBA champion. She was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year and will be inducted in September.

After college at Southern California, Thompson played professionally for 12 seasons in Houston, four years in Los Angeles and finished her career in Seattle in 2013.

Thompson replaces Joanne Boyle, who resigned after seven season to attend to a family matter.

At Texas, Thompson was promoted to associate head coach on Karen Aston’s staff last September. She focused on the development of the Longhorns’ post players.

Thompson is the fifth head coach in the 44-year history of Virginia’s program.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a program with such a rich history,” she said in a release from the school.

Virginia reached 20 consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 1984-2003, and made it back for the first time in nine seasons this year.

“This program is in an exciting place with a hardworking group of young ladies,” Thompson said. “It is my intention to continue the winning ways coach Joanne Boyle has built with this impressionable group.”

Athletic director Carla Williams said Thompson’s resume speaks for itself.

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

Thompson will formally be introduced at a press conference on Wednesday.

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