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WNBA: Storm coach Dan Hughes abruptly retires

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Dan Hughes announced his retirement as coach of the Seattle Storm on Sunday and appointed assistant Noelle Quinn as his replacement.

Hughes’ decision came just six games into the 2021 WNBA season for Seattle (5-1).

“After over 40 years of coaching basketball, I want to finish my career with the focus and determination with which I started,” Hughes, 66, said in a statement. “The Seattle Storm is in amazing shape, after two championships and a terrific playoff run in 2019, I would like to announce my retirement from the WNBA. I believe now is the right time because the team is performing well, but the rigors of being a head coach in the WNBA have taken their toll on me. I look forward to coaching with USA Basketball at the 2021 Olympics, then leveraging my experience to give back to the game in other ways.”

Hughes, who had surgery in 2019 to remove a cancerous tumor from his digestive tract, did not participate in the abridged 2020 WNBA season in a bubble setting in Bradenton, Fla., over health concerns. Veteran coach Gary Kloppenburg took over for Hughes on an interim basis.

Hughes said he will see through his commitment to serve as an assistant coach for USA Basketball through the completion of the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

For 23 years, Hughes coached in the WNBA in various capacities, including with the now-defunct Charlotte Sting (1999) and Cleveland Rockers (2000-03). He coached the San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces) from 2005-09 and 2011-16 before taking the helm at Seattle in 2018.

Hughes was a two-time WNBA Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2007 and won his lone WNBA title with the Storm in 2018.

Quinn played 12 seasons in the WNBA before retiring and taking a job on Hughes’ staff in Seattle in 2019.

“I am excited to hand the reins to Noelle,” Hughes said. “She is well positioned to do this job and I am proud to have mentored her during my time here. I look forward to her and the team’s ongoing success.”

Hughes is first in WNBA history in seasons coached (19), second in games coached (598) and is tied for the third in wins. He retires with an overall 286-312 record.

–Field Level Media

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