Tina Thompson

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

After three seasons as a Texas assistant coach, Tina Thompson has been named the head coach of the Virginia women’s basketball team.

Tuesday’s announcement ends the Cavaliers’ 27-day search for a new head coach after Joanne Boyle stepped down from the position on March 20 due to a family matter. Thompson will now take over a program that boasts three NCAA Final Four appearances in its 44-year history.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to become the next women’s basketball coach at the University of Virginia,” Thompson said in a statement. “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.”

The hiring marks the next chapter for a person who has succeeded on every level. After being selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Comets in the 1997 inaugural WNBA Draft, the USC alumna led the Comets to four straight WNBA championships in her first four seasons.

Thompson won on a global stage as well, claiming gold in both the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. After a 17-year career of shattering records and hanging up banners, Thompson retired in 2014 as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 7,488 points.

Those accomplishments were recognized on March 31 when Thompson was announced as an inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I am thrilled to have Tina Thompson as our new women’s basketball coach,” Virginia athletic director Carla Williams said. “She is one of the best to ever play the game, and she has experienced tremendous success at all levels of the game.”

After being hired as an assistant coach at Texas on May 18, 2015, Thompson used her experience to help develop players such as Imani McGee-Stafford and Ariel Atkins, both of whom later became top-10 picks in the WNBA draft.

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

Thompson has been open about her desire to eventually become a head coach over the past few seasons. Now the WNBA legend will get that shot, and she credits Texas head coach Karen Aston for helping launch her coaching career.

“I am forever grateful for the opportunity Karen Aston and the University of Texas provided me,” Thompson said. “My experience there has helped to prepare me for this moment. I want to thank Carla Williams for this coveted opportunity.”

Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inducted its newest member on Monday night, announcing the selection of Texas associate head coach Tina Thompson.

“I am extremely honored to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,” Thompson said in a statement. “It is a true privilege to have my name reside in the home where so many of the greats of our game are housed. As a young girl, little did I know how good old-fashioned hard work and passion would affect my life in such a grand way. Fabulous indeed.”

The Inglewood, California, native and USC alum launched her illustrious 17-year WNBA career in 1997, spending her first 12 seasons with the Houston Comets. Thompson had an immediate impact, helping lead her team to four straight championships in her first four seasons.

Thompson’s ability to score from all spots on the court quickly elevated her to elite status, becoming a nine-time All-Star, and three-time All-WNBA First Team member.

The former No. 1 overall pick reached a milestone in 2004, representing Team USA in the Olympics in Athens. Thompson shined on the world’s biggest stage, helping win two Olympic gold medals in two appearances.

After playing for the Los Angeles Sparks from 2009-11, Thompson finished her WNBA career with the Seattle Storm in 2013 at the age of 38. Thompson left behind a legacy when she walked away from the league, standing as the only WNBA player at the time to have 7,000 points and 3,000 rebounds in her career.

Monday’s induction signifies the highest honor for a person whose life has revolved around the sport of basketball. With a laundry list of accomplishments during her player career, Thompson has since turned her focus to coaching.

The WNBA legend walked onto the 40 Acres on May 18, 2015, joining the Texas staff as an assistant coach. Thompson has thrived on the sideline, becoming the associate head coach for the Longhorns on Sept. 18, 2017.

The 2018 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend is scheduled for June 8-10 in Knoxville, Tennessee.