In October, the Atlanta Dream announced Tanisha Wright, most recently an assistant coach with the Las Vegas Aces, as its new head coach. She joins Vickie Johnson of the Dallas Wings and Noelle Quinn of the Seattle Storm as former WNBA players now in the head coaching role.
Wright, 38, who was born in Brooklyn, played three seasons with the New York Liberty. Since joining the Dream she has been busy with meetings as well as scouting college talent who will likely be entering the 2022 WNBA Draft. She has several years of coaching experience, first in the college game and the past two years in the WNBA.
“I also have a lot of playing experience,” said Wright. “Within my playing years, especially toward the end, it became evident coaching was something I had a passion for and wanted to do through the mentoring of young players that were coming into our league. … The other value that I brought to the team is how I thought about the game.”
Being a Black woman in a leadership position has an impact. “There’s a responsibility to bring others up and represent ourselves in a way that young women coming up and young players in our league understand these are opportunities that can be and will be afforded to them if they grow in the game as they move forward in their careers,” Wright said.
The Atlanta Dream has been recognized for its political impact, most notably playing a role in the election of Senator Raphael Warnock, which was spotlighted on the HBO series “Level Playing Field.” Wright has been outspoken on issues of race and racism, particularly with the Liberty in 2016. She values what the Dream and all the players of the WNBA have done to elevate and amplify typically unheard voices.
“I feel this is the perfect place for me and the perfect situation,” she said. “As you continue to see the trend of Black women getting opportunities as head coaches in the WNBA and NCAA, that is going to be something that people value and people can see, and you’re going to see that continue to rise.”
It was recently announced New York Liberty has parted ways with head coach Walt Hopkins, who amassed a record of 14–41 in two seasons with the team. Perhaps when filling this coveted position management can select a coach with distinct ties to the team, such as Teresa Weatherspoon, Crystal Robinson or Becky Hammon.