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New York Liberty and head coach Walt Hopkins part ways

(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The New York Liberty have parted ways with coach Walt Hopkins, the team announced on Monday.

“The New York Liberty has initiated a search for a new head coach, following a decision by Walt Hopkins and management to part ways,” the team wrote on social media.

“We thank Walt for his spirit and commitment over the last two seasons, in which the team developed 3 WNBA All-Rookie Team members and Rookie of the Year.”

The 36-year-old just finished his second season with the Liberty, compiling a 14-40 record. While he earned just two wins in his first season as head coach, Hopkins’ departure comes following a season that saw the Liberty go 12-20 and make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

After losing to the Phoenix Mercury – who eventually made the WNBA Final – in the first round of the playoffs, Betnijah Laney stated that the team would “be back.”

But that wasn’t the only achievement of the season for the Liberty. Michaela Onyenwere was named the 2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year, the team’s first. She was joined on the 2021 All-Rookie Team by teammate Didi Richards.

Additionally, the 2022 season could see the return of former No. 2 overall pick Asia Durr after the guard missed the past two seasons due to COVID-19. Sabrina Ionescu, another key member of the Liberty’s young core, will also be entering her third year in the WNBA.

Prior to his stint in New York, Hopkins was an assistant coach for the Minnesota Lynx, where he helped the team to a 63-39 record, three consecutive playoff appearances and a WNBA championship.