Dan Hughes built an impressive resume that appeared to be growing after winning his first WNBA Championship in 2018. After pacing the Storm to a 5-1 start, the longtime head coach decided it was time for retirement. Dan Hughes retirement won’t enshadow his exceptional WNBA coaching record!
“After over 40 years of coaching basketball, I want to finish my career with the focus and determination with which I started,” Hughes said in a statement. “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 W.N.B.A.
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. I look forward to coaching with the U.S.A. Basketball at the 2021 Olympics, then leveraging my experience to give back to the game in other ways.”
Dan Hughes Retirement: Impressive Resume
Hughes will hand the reins to assistant coach Noelle Quinn, and as abrupt as his exit may seem, his mark on the WNBA won’t be forgotten. Hughes first landed with the Charlotte Sting in the 1999 season, where he was able to draft and coach Hall of Famer Dawn Staley.
After leading the String to the Eastern Conference Finals, Hughes landed with the Cleveland Rockers prior to the 2000 season. He drafted future 3x All-Star Penny Taylor, and led the Rockers to the best record in the Eastern Conference.
After a pair of non-playoff appearances, Hughes would latch on with the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2005. That was a golden era for basketball in the city of San Antonio, and after a couple of underwhelming seasons, the Silver Stars would join in on the glory.
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Hughes led San Antonio to the Western Conference Finals where they’d fall to a young Diana Taurasi, his former player, Taylor, and the Phoenix Mercury. The following season would go on to be Hughes best season yet, posting a 24-10 record and reaching the WNBA Finals for the first time in his career. Although San Antonio was swept, this led to a five-year playoff run.
After flaming out with the Silver Stars, Hughes landed a golden opportunity to coach a talented Seattle Storm team that honed a great mix of youth and veteran talent, and was led by Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart.
Hughes would capitalize in his first season, and capture his first WNBA Championship after avenging his Finals loss to Taurasi and the Mercury, before sweeping Elena Delle-Donne and the Washington Mystics.
Hughes Felt it Was Time to Move On
Hughes sat out during the 2020 season due to the pandemic, and returned with a fast 5-1 season. All signs pointed to him leading Seattle to third title in four seasons, but the rigors of coaching basketball had caught up to Coach Hughes.
He felt it was time to move on, and after giving the game over 22 years of service, the WNBA will miss one of its pioneers. The players he coached, the success in different locations, and the longevity itself has surely earned Hughes a spot in the WNBA Hall of Fame.