- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2002

The Washington Mystics strongly shot down a rumor yesterday that former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy will be named their sixth coach. The Mystics appear to be leaning toward hiring current assistant coach Marianne Stanley.
The Orlando Sentinel and Newark Star-Ledger, citing sources in both the NBA and WNBA, had reported that Van Gundy would be named Mystics coach sometime this week.
Not true, said the Mystics.
"Although Jeff Van Gundy is an excellent coach, the article written by the Orlando Sentinel is unfounded and the information reported within is untrue," said Susan O'Malley, president of Washington Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Mystics. "Unfortunately, the reporter's source was not the proper one the Mystics. We have taken this time to find a coach we believe is the perfect fit for this team, and we expect to make an announcement within the next few days."
Stanley would be the logical hire. She won three national championships at Old Dominion in the late 1970s and middle 1980s and is tied with Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and second only to Tennessee's Pat Summit's six for the most NCAA women's basketball titles. Later this month Stanley will be inducted into the Women's National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Stanley has been handling all scouting duties for the Mystics since Jan. 4, when then-general manager Melissa McFerrin and then-coach Tom Maher were fired. With the WNBA draft due in just 15 days and the Mystics holding the third and fourth overall picks, hiring anyone other than Stanley might produce unfortunate picks, because Stanley would know the Mystics' personnel better than a new hire.
In her 21 seasons as a college head coach, Stanley (415-224) competed in 10 Final Fours, was named national coach of the year twice and earned four conference coach of the year honors while at California, Stanford, Southern Cal, Pennsylvania and Old Dominion.
Stanley joined the Mystics last summer from the Los Angeles Sparks. As Michael Cooper's assistant with the Sparks in 2000, Stanley helped coach the Lisa Leslie-led Sparks to a 28-4 record and a second-round playoff appearance.
Van Gundy's name became a hot topic last weekend at the Women's Final Four in San Antonio. The Star-Ledger reported there could be an unforeseen reward for Van Gundy down the road if he became Mystics coach. The article said it would be conceivable that Mystics owner Abe Pollin, who also owns the Washington Wizards, would elevate Van Gundy to Wizards coach once incumbent Doug Collins decides he would rather be general manager.
The Star-Ledger also said Van Gundy may have his choice of numerous NBA coaching positions after the annual postseason firings take place.
"I would be shocked if [the Mystics-Van Gundy reports] were true," Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau told the Star-Ledger.

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