It was announced last week that the Dallas Wings of the WNBA have hired Vickie Johnson as its new head coach. She is well known to New Yorkers as she played nine seasons with the New York Liberty, from its inaugural season in 1997 to 2005. She ended her playing career with the now defunct San Antonio Stars in 2009, and soon after became an assistant coach with the team.

“This group of young ladies in the roster is amazing,” said Johnson, who previously served as head coach of the Stars and spent the past two years as an assistant coach with the Las Vegas Aces, which made it to the WNBA Finals in the 2020 wubble season. “The Dallas Wings has a lot of great pieces. They’re young, they’re athletic, they’re hungry and they’re passionate about winning.”

Making this hire all the sweeter for Johnson, a native of Louisiana, is that she’s called Dallas, Texas home since 2004. “I’m very grateful to the Dallas organization for giving me the opportunity to be home and to coach such a great young team,” said Johnson, who attends The Potter’s House Church and is active in the community.

Johnson loves how enthusiastic Texans are about women’s basketball. There are great college programs, such as Baylor University, University of Texas and Texas A&M, as well as an incredible AAU scene. Over the next couple of months, Johnson will get to know the Dallas Wings organization and reach out to the players, some of who are playing overseas. She’s already watching video of the 2020 games.

Although her days in New York ended 15 years ago, longtime Liberty fans remember her fondly and she feels the same about them. “I loved the opportunities to talk to the fans,” Johnson recalled. “They felt that they were part of our family and we felt we were a part of their families. They came out and supported us. The fans would stand and cheer us on.”

As an inaugural player in the WNBA, Johnson feels a connection to today’s players. As a Black woman, she has always been conscious of being a positive role model, and she was impressed to see the players engage in social justice activism this past season. “It’s our right to speak out on different issues in the world today,” she said.

Now, it’s onto building a championship future for the Wings. “It’s my responsibility to help each player to develop their game,” she said. “To be able to touch the community will be huge for us.”