The Chicago Sky are expected to name WNBA champion and former All-Star Ann Wauters as assistant coach, league sources tell Just Women’s Sports. It will be Wauters’ first professional coaching job after she retired from playing in 2020.
Wauters entered the WNBA at just 19 years old when the Cleveland Rockers selected her No. 1 overall in the 2000 draft. The 6-foot-5 center was the first Belgian-born player in the WNBA and the youngest player in the league at the time. She joined the New York Liberty through the dispersal draft after Cleveland folded in 2003, making her first All-Star team in 2005. In 2008, the Atlanta Dream selected Wauters in the expansion draft but traded her to the San Antonio Silver Stars, who reached the WNBA Finals that same year.
After two years in San Antonio, Wauters sat out for two seasons before returning with the Seattle Storm in 2012. In 2016, she signed with the Los Angeles Sparks and won a WNBA championship with current Sky player Candace Parker in her first and only season in L.A.
Wauters averaged 10 points, 5.1 rebounds, and shot 54 percent from the field during her nine-year WNBA career.
Wauters’ extensive basketball career also included stops all over Europe. She spent time with powerhouse clubs UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia, Galatasaray and Yakin Dogu in Turkey, WBC CSKA Moscow in Russia and Ros Casares Godella in Spain. In 2021, Wauters served as captain of the Belgian national team and played in her first Olympics at the age of 40.
Wauters is a four-time EuroLeague champion, two-time Russian National League champion and four-time French Cup winner.
Wauters, 41, will join a Sky team looking to repeat as WNBA champions in 2022 under head coach James Wade. Currently, the team is negotiating with several of its core players turned free agents, such as Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot and Stefanie Dolson. The Sky placed the core designation on 2021 Finals MVP Kahleah Copper earlier this month.
Rachel Galligan is a basketball analyst at Just Women’s Sports. A former professional basketball player and collegiate coach, she also contributes to Winsidr. Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachGall.