Fever name former assistant Christie Sides new head coach

Christie Sides has been named the new head coach of the Indiana Fever, the organization announced Friday, as the franchise looks to return to relevance after a six-season absence from the WNBA playoffs.

Strane — replacing Marianne Stanley, who was fired midseason, and Carlos Knox, who was temporarily out for the season — has extensive coaching experience at the collegiate and professional levels, most recently serving as an assistant under Tanisha Wright for the 2022 Atlanta Dream.

“Christie has all the qualities I value,” interim CEO Lin Dunn said in a statement. “She is a great teacher with a high basketball IQ. She is a relationship person and a connector. Christie will be demanding, pay attention to detail, and also make sure we defend and play hard. I love her energy and believe she is perfect for our young, talented team.”

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“I want to thank the Simon family, Lin Dunn and the entire Pacers Sports & Entertainment organization for this opportunity,” Sides said in a statement. “It’s an honor to be a part of a world-class sports franchise. Indiana has a great tradition of winning, and I’m excited to join Lin and the rest of the organization in laying the foundation for sustained success as we enter the next era of basketball fever.”

Sides’ other coaching posts include serving as an associate head coach or assistant for the University of Louisiana-Monroe, Fever (2018-19), Chicago Sky, Northwestern, LSU, Spartak Moscow Region and the Slovakian women’s national team.

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Sides worked on the staff of former college and WNBA head coach Pokey Chatman (now an assistant with the Seattle Storm) as part of the Fever, as well as the Chicago Sky, LSU, Spartak and the Slovakian national team.

A native of Baton Rouge, Sides played at Ole Miss collegiately before transferring to Louisiana Tech. Despite their storied history, which includes a WNBA title highlight in 2012 and a playoff run from 2005-2016, the Fever have suffered since the retirement of franchise player Tamika Catchings in 2016, managing just one 10-win season in the past six years. Under Stanley — who took over in 2020 after Chatman was fired — and Knox, the Fever finished the 2022 campaign 5-31 with 18 straight losses.

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They have a chance to rebuild behind a host of promising young talent — including 2022 draft picks NaLyssa Smith (No. 2 overall), Emily Engstler, Lexie Hull, Queen Egbo and Destanni Henderson.

Sides is the second former assistant tapped for a head coaching job this WNBA offseason, as the Dallas Wings are expected to hire Latricia Trammell to replace Vickie Johnson, ESPN reported earlier this week.

The Connecticut Sun are the only other organization that needs to fill a head coaching vacancy since Curt Miller left for the Los Angeles Sparks last month.

The WNBA draft lottery — in which the Fever have the best odds (442 out of 1,000) to pick No. 1 — takes place on Nov. 11.

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