The Washington Mystics took another step in their rebuilding process by hiring Angela Taylor as their new vice president and general manager. She replaces Linda Hargrove, who was fired Sept. 22.
Taylor has never been a general manager before, but Mystics chief operating officer Greg Bibb said Thursday in the team’s first public comments since the hiring that he was nonetheless impressed with her resume. Taylor spent 10 years in the player personnel department of the WNBA league office, where she worked her way up to senior director. In that role, she supervised league scouts.
For the past two years, Taylor served as vice president of business operations for the Minnesota Lynx, where she was an integral part of the rebuilding process similar to the one the Mystics are undertaking, founded in draft picks and the development of young players.
“For a long time, I’ve wanted to be on the basketball side,” Taylor said. “It’s something I live, eat and drink every day. Working the business side the last couple of years has been a challenge. It’s been a game of chess, something that strategically put my mind to work and I can use that with my basketball mind to continue my career.”
Bibb said he was impressed with Taylor’s combination of business and basketball knowledge, as well as her experience as a player. She won two national championships at Stanford and served as an assistant coach at Texas A&M, Arizona and Stanford before joining the WNBA league office.
Hargrove had blamed the Mystics’ failures this summer in part on a disconnect between the players and the staff. Bibb believes that as a former player, Taylor will be better received by the Mystics’ roster.
“There’s a certain amount of respect inherent to that relationship then,” Bibb said. “The player understands that the leadership has been in the same position. To find someone like Angela, who has played at a high level and coached at a high level, was a home run for us.”
Taylor is now tasked with reconstructing a team that finished 10-24 and was barely competitive in losing its final eight games. She joins the management team of Bibb and team president Sheila Johnson that is focused on improving through the draft and developing prospects. Washington has five picks in the 2009 WNBA Draft.
But first, several changes to the Mystics roster are expected during the offseason. Taylor said a majority of her decisions will be based on the style of whomever the Mystics choose to fill their vacant coaching position. That is where Washington’s management will turn its attention to next. It wants to have a coach in place by mid-November, the time the collegiate season begins.
But in evaluating the Mystics’ talent, Taylor already has identified areas the team will need to improve.
“I think we need to have a better post presence,” she said. “I think to win at this level, you have to control the boards and defend.”