Can Noelle Quinn and Co. Lead Seattle Back to Success?


After a discouraging season in Seattle, there were questions surrounding the job security of head coach Noelle Quinn.

The Storm finished 11-29 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015. With Seattle starting from scratch, there were concerns over Quinn’s ability to lead. Any concerns were quickly rebuffed, however, when the Storm showed they believe in Quinn by inking her to a multi-year extension.

The standard in Seattle is to win championships as they’ve done four times now, and so far Quinn has not lived up to those expectations. Despite this, she is making the most of a unique situation so far in her coaching career.

An Epic Thunderstorm Hits Coach Quinn

Quinn started her tenure in Seattle as a player, spending her last three playing years with them from 2016-2018.

In 2019, she started her coaching career as an assistant on Dan Hughes’ staff. When 2020 moved to the Wubble, Hughes was not cleared to coach, leading Quinn to be the associate coach for Gary Kloppenburg. Helping guide the Storm to their fourth championship only started her rise to taking the reigns. After the 2020 championship, Seattle faced a series of changes during the 2021 season.

Despite priding themselves on defense, the Storm had a more offensive approach, with a coaching change happening during the season. After Hughes retired, Quinn took over as the head coach. She finished 16-10 after taking over, carrying a 21-11 overall record to the second round of the playoffs before falling to the Phoenix Mercury.

2022 was Quinn’s first full season as the leader and she brought in Pokey Chatman and Ebonny Hoffman as her assistants. Chatman previously coached with the Chicago Sky and Indiana Fever, while Hoffman never coached in the WNBA. Quinn’s first full year coaching seemed promising despite the injuries and roster changes.

Her decisions were questioned, however, especially after they acquired Tina Charles. Instead of utilizing her best lineups, she decided name recognition would be the best way to win. Quinn finished 22-14 in her first full season but Seattle lost to the eventual champion Las Vegas Aces in the semifinals.

Coach Quinn had a very strong start to her coaching career, but thunderclouds surrounded her after star players Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird departed. This forced both Seattle and Quinn to choose a different approach to winning. They built the roster with young rookies, efficient veterans and star power to compete with the greater competition.

The Calm In The Seattle Storm

The first year of a rebuild can be tough for any coach, let alone someone still learning like Quinn.

However, she’s instilled a culture of grit and toughness, and you can see it in her staff and the roster. Players like rookie Jordan Horston, Jewell Loyd and Ezi Magbegor demonstrate this the best while Chatman shows this from the sidelines. This culture made the Storm fearless— vital for a team so young.

While Quinn still has her flaws in end-of-game management and this season’s record plays against her, there is no question she is the right person to lead this rebuild. She has the full support of the players, organization and the right staff to help her guide Seattle back to championship contention.

While the Storm put their full trust in Quinn as the head coach, they also rewarded one of her assistants who they couldn’t afford to lose.

Coach Chatman Stays In Seattle With Expanded Role

In addition to extending coach Quinn, the Storm continued to solidify their coaching staff.

Assistant coach Chatman earned a promotion to associate general manager this offseason to assist in roster construction. This is an important retention because she is a very capable head coach with intriguing openings around the league. Spots like her old stomping ground Chicago or Phoenix would giver her the opportunity to lead a team, but her heart belongs in Seattle.

While she deserves the promotional role of head coach, the Storm decided to reward her in a different way. Chatman has a positive reputation around the league being a successful coach. When she coached with Chicago, she led them to playoffs four times with one Finals appearance. When making decisions in free agency, Chatman’s work in Chicago as the GM will come in handy as she can help build the right pieces around this roster to contend for a championship again.

Sue Bird SLAM Magazine Bobblehead!

What’s the word? Sue Bird is the word. You could also call her the GOAT. But with this Sue Bird Seattle Storm Slam Magazine Cover Bobblehead, she’ll most definitely be a centerpiece of your collection.

About Brenden Potts

Brenden is an American writer and Washington State University Sport Management student in Pullman Washington. He has less than a year of writing experience getting started with The Lead. He writes about the Seattle Storm for The Lead.

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