To say its been an eventful weekend for Noelle Quinn would be putting it lightly.
“I want to be honest with you, I don’t even remember the last 72 hours,” she said Monday during her introductory press conference as the Seattle Storm’s new head coach.
In her first remarks after the team announced her promotion following Dan Hughes’ sudden retirement, the 36-year-old said she was grateful for the opportunity, and thanked both ownership and the team’s front office for their support.
“I’m interested to lead this team and it doesn’t go unseen that they are instilling this confidence in me,” she said.
A 12-year WNBA veteran, Quinn joined the Seattle coaching staff in 2019 as an assistant, and was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2020 “Wubble” campaign. Now the seventh head coach in franchise history, Quinn is the first Black woman to take the helm for the franchise, and was quick to name those who came before her around the league.
“You talk about Pokey Chatman, Teresa Edwards, Jennifer Gillom, Carolyn Jenkins, Vickie Johnson, Trudy Lacey, Cynthia Cooper, Cheryl Miller, Carolyn Peck, Julie Rousseau, Amber Stocks, Karleen Thompson, Shell Dailey, Jessie Kenlaw, Cathy Parson, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Denise Taylor and Penny Toller, you know, they crawled so I could walk,” she said. “I sit on those shoulders, and for me, you know, it’s important that I’m not a woman, I’m a black woman, and I sit with that every day.”
At 5-1, Quinn inherits a Storm squad at the top of the WNBA standings, with its sights set on becoming the first team since the 2002 Los Angeles Sparks to successfully defend its title.
“We are a championship organization,” she said. “We have a high level of excellence. We have a great culture here and so that’s what makes it easy for me. What we started to cook up in 2017 and leading into 2018 was something that was brewing before that and what you saw was like a combination of culture and leadership.”
As for her own style?
“My leadership isn’t going to be loud as boisterous, but it’s going to be sharp, it is going to be dominant, and it is going to be necessary,” she said. “I will be a servant leader. I’ve played in this league for a long time, and I know what it takes. I know what type of coaches players like and I’m here to serve.”
After guiding the team to a 90-87 victory over Connecticut on May 25 while Hughes was away for his son’s graduation, Quinn’s official tenure starts Tuesday at home against Indiana at 7:30 p.m. PT.