The WNBA Atlanta Dream recently announced they have named Karleen Thompson assistant coach to new Head Coach Michael Cooper. Thompson previously served as an assistant under Cooper with the Los Angeles Sparks from 2002-04.
“It will be a pleasure to work with Karleen again,” said Cooper. “She knows the ins and outs of the WNBA and her knowledge of the league will be a big asset. In addition, her player development skills are some of the best in the profession and put her in the top level of coaches in the game.”
“I am very excited to be a part of the Atlanta Dream organization,” said Thompson. “I am looking forward to working with Coach Cooper again and can’t wait to get to work on bringing a WNBA Championship to the city of Atlanta.”
Thompson comes to the Dream after most serving as Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator at Clemson University for three seasons from 2010-13. Prior to that she spent 12 years in the WNBA, including serving as the head coach and general manager of the Houston Comets from two seasons (2007-08), posting a record of 30-38. She was promoted to that position after serving as an assistant coach with the team for seasons.
Before the Comets, Thompson spent eight years in the Los Angeles Sparks organization. She joined the Sparks in 1997 and was promoted to assistant coach by 2002. In 2004, she served as interim co-head coach following the mid-season departure of Cooper when he joined the staff of the NBA Denver Nuggets. She then 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 of 25-9.
Thompson also helped the Sparks to WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002, and served as an assistant coach to the Western Conference All-Star squad for two seasons (2002, 2003).
A graduate of USC where she lettered in basketball for two seasons playing alongside WNBA All-Stars Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie, Thompson 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 was a highly-recruited three-sport athlete at Snyder (Texas) High School.