Virginia women’s basketball head coach Tina Thompson announced on Wednesday (July 18) the hiring of Karleen Thompson associate head coach.
Thompson is a coaching veteran in the WNBA with the Houston Comets, Los Angeles Sparks and most recently with the Atlanta Dream. She has also served as an assistant coach at Clemson from 2010-13.
“I am thrilled to welcome Karleen Thompson to the our UVA family, as our Associate Head Coach,” Tina Thompson said. “She brings energy, passion, and over 20 years of coaching experience. I have a long history with Karleen – first as a teammate at the University of Southern California and second as a player when she coached the WNBA Houston Comets. Karleen has been successful at every level of her coaching career. To be able to bring someone with her diverse experience onto our staff is a true blessing, and I will definitely rely on her leadership in many ways.”
Thompson joined the coaching staff of the Houston Comets in 2005, serving as an assistant coach for two seasons before being promoted to head coach and acting general manager of from 2007-08, posting a record of 30-38. Before coaching with the Comets, Thompson spent eight years in the Los Angeles Sparks organization. She joined the Sparks in 1997. In 2004, she served as interim co-head coach following the mid-season departure of Michael Cooper to join the staff of the Denver Nuggets of the NBA. She helped guide the Sparks to an 11-3 record over the final 14 games of the regular season, clinching the league’s best overall mark (25-9). Thompson helped the Sparks to WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002 and served as an assistant on the Western Conference All-Star for two seasons (2002, 2003). She was also an assistant coach for the WNBA Select Team that captured second place in the FIBA Women’s World Cup 2003 which was held in Samara, Russia.
Thompson served as assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Clemson for three seasons from 2010-13, before returning to the WNBA as the associate head coach of the Atlanta Dream from 2013-17.
Thompson is a 1997 graduate of the University of Southern California where she lettered in basketball for two seasons on a Trojan team that alongside Tina Thompson. She began her collegiate career at Contra Costa College in Northern California, where she was a Kodak All-American and later earned a spot in the Junior College Hall of Fame. She is the mother of two daughters, Ayesha and Keisha, and a very proud “Nana” of identical twin grandsons, Tyler and Kameron.
“The University of Virginia has a long history of academic and athletic excellence and I’m excited to now be a part of ,” Thompson said. “Moreover, I am extremely excited and looking forward to working with Coach Thompson in her efforts to continue to bring academic and athletic excellence to the Virginia women’s basketball program.”
Thompson will join La’Keshia Frett Meredith and Katherine Graham on the coaching staff. Frett Meredith is in her sixth season with the Cavaliers while Graham is beginning her third.
“Karleen has a great basketball mind and a keen understanding of how to motivate young women,” Tina Thompson said. “She will be instrumental in the day to day development of our players and operations, as well as the execution of our overall vision. The most exciting thing for me is that she’s yet another member of our staff that has done all the things we want our kids to do, the things they want to accomplish for themselves. All at a high level, very exciting times for Virginia Women’s Basketball.”
Photo Courtesy UVA AthleticsACC Virginia