Storm HC Dan Hughes Retires from WNBA; Noelle Quinn Named as Replacement

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 30, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 14: Head Coach Dan Hughes of the Seattle Storm looks on during the game against the Washington Mystics on August 14, 2019 at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Seattle Storm head coach Dan Hughes is retiring with immediate effect.

"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," Hughes said in Sunday's announcement. "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."

Storm co-governor Lisa Brummel praised Hughes' work on the sideline:

Seattle Storm @seattlestorm

Heart of a Champion πŸ’šπŸ’›πŸ†#TakeCover pic.twitter.com/KPQ4N6LVaD

Associate head coach Noelle Quinn will take over as Seattle's head coach.

Seattle Storm @seattlestorm

Congratulations to Noelle Quinn on being named the seventh head coach in Seattle Storm history! β›ˆπŸ‘Š#TakeCover pic.twitter.com/DIFV0jjY9d

Hughes referenced his health as playing a role in his decision.

The 66-year-old announced ahead of the 2019 season he had been diagnosed with cancer, which forced him out for a spell that year. He then chose to sit out the 2020 campaign because of COVID-19-related reasons when the WNBA staged an abbreviated regular season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

As a result, Gary Kloppenburg is officially recognized as Seattle's head coach during its championship run, though Hughes did his best to provide input from his home in Ohio.

Because of that, Hughes is credited with one WNBA title as a head coach, guiding the Storm to a Finals victory over the Washington Mystics in 2018. He's also a two-time Coach of the Year, first with the Cleveland Rockers in 2001 and then the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007. His 286 wins are tied for third-most in WNBA history.

Quinn will now have the difficult task of maintaining the success Hughes delivered in the Pacific Northwest.

Despite losing Natasha Howard, Alysha Clark and Sami Whitcomb in the offseason, the Storm sit second in the WNBA at 5-1. Breanna Stewart is averaging a double-double (22.5 points, 10.3 rebounds), while Jewell Loyd is herself building an MVP campaign, putting 19.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game.

A third WNBA title in four years seems a plausible aim.

Quinn has plenty of continuity with this roster, having been a part of the championship-winning squad in 2018 before taking over as an assistant in February 2019. Given her age, the 36-year-old could be leading the franchise for many seasons to come.