In 2009, the Minnesota Lynx were 10 years down with very little to show for it. The team had qualified for the postseason twice since starting play in 1999, and after head coach Jennifer Gillom lasted only one season following a break down in contract talks between the two parties, the organization was in search of its third boss in three years.
Minnesota was coming off of a 14-20 campaign under Gillom, its fifth-straight losing season. The replacement the franchise found would make its next 10 years look quite a bit different.
On Dec. 8, 2009, the Lynx named Cheryl Reeve as their seventh all-time head coach. Now 10 years and multiple championships later, Minnesota is still in the good hands that brought it to the forefront of the WNBA in the 2010s.
We know about the four WNBA titles, six trips to the WNBA Finals and nine-season playoff streak that Reeve has achieved so far, but back when her appointment was announced in 2009, what did people think of the hire?
Reactions: Cheryl Reeve Hired
“Reeve has 21 years of coaching at the collegiate and WNBA levels. She most recently served as the general manager for the Detroit Shock, after being promoted from assistant coach. Since Reeve joined the Shock in 2006, the team has won two WNBA titles.” – Madeleine Baran, MPR News
“Reeve got her start in the WNBA with the Charlotte Sting in 2001 when she joined Anna Donovan’s staff as an assistant coach. After posting an 8-24 record in 2000, Charlotte turned things around in Reeve’s first year, going 18-14 en route to advancing to the WNBA Finals. Reeve spent the 2002 season again in Charlotte before joining Dan Hughes’ coaching staff in Cleveland for the 2003 season. Reeve returned to the Sting in 2004 and 2005 before joining Detroit in 2006. In Reeve’s nine years as an assistant in the WNBA, she’s compiled a .543 winning percentage (163-137 W/L), including seven postseason appearances and advancing to the WNBA Finals four times.” – Lynx Press Release
“Hired by three-time WNBA champion Head Coach Bill Laimbeer, Reeve joined the Shock coaching staff in 2006 and helped the franchise reach the WNBA Finals in each of her first three years, winning WNBA titles in 2006 and 2008. During her four years with Detroit, the team held an 87-49 win/loss record and won at least 18 games each season, including 24 in 2007. Reeve also served as the Shock’s director of player personnel in 2008.” – La Salle Press Release
“This is great for the Lynx. She’s worked under numerous coaches who’ve had success in this league and she’s been to WNBA Finals four times, and has won two WNBA Championships. She has good, sound coaching experience and knows how to get the job done.” – Bill Laimbeer, Minnesota Timberwolves Assistant Coach
“We’re very excited to have hired Cheryl to lead our team. She’s been part of two WNBA championships in Detroit, has been in two other WNBA finals, and has been to the playoffs in seven of her nine seasons in the league. She’s had the chance to learn from three of the most accomplished and well-respected coaches that have ever coached in the WNBA in Bill Laimbeer, Anne Donovan, and Dan Hughes. Overall, she has 21 years of coaching experience between the WNBA and collegiate levels, including a five-year stint as a head coach at Indiana State, where she led them to their first postseason birth in 20 years. We’re very excited about her passion and enthusiasm for the job, her lengthy experience as a coach, and her knowledge of the teams and the players in this league. We also like the confidence and belief she has that our team can be successful immediately. We believe hiring Cheryl puts us in the best position to win right now. We expect with the return to health of Seimone Augustus and Nicky Anosike, coupled with the No. 1 and No. 3 draft picks, the player we acquire via the dispersal draft of former Sacramento Monarchs players and our returning players that, under Cheryl’s direction, we’ll be a championship caliber team in 2010.” – Roger Griffith, Lynx Executive Vice President
“I’m looking forward to this exciting opportunity to lead the Minnesota Lynx. I believe that with the rising young talent on this team, the return of [injured player] Seimone Augustus, and the additions we’ll make to the roster this offseason, the time is now for the Lynx to be the best in the West.” – Cheryl Reeve
“Cheryl is an outstanding basketball coach with extensive experience in the WNBA. She’s been a pivotal part of so many successful teams in this league. I’m so excited that she has an opportunity to lead her own team and I applaud Minnesota for recognizing this outstanding coach.” – Dan Hughes, San Antonio Silver Stars Head Coach