Marianne Stanley is the Indiana Fever's new head coach and was officially introduced by the organization Tuesday morning. The Fever also announced that former player Tamika Catchings, the team's vice president of basketball operations, will also now serve as general manager.
Pokey Chatman had the combined role of coach/GM, but she was fired in September after three seasons in which the Fever went 9-25, 6-28 and 13-21 and missed the playoffs.
Stanley, 65, comes to Indiana from a long stint as an assistant coach with the Washington Mystics, who won the WNBA title last season.
She said she was content in her role with the Mystics but still had an "itch" to become a head coach again if the right situation came along. She decided it did in Indiana, a young team that has nine players with three years or less of WNBA experience and the No. 3 pick in the upcoming WNBA draft.
"I always said, 'I'm not going to leave for just any old job,'" Stanley said. "I love what I do, and I'm passionate about what I do. I love to work with people who are equally invested in each other and the task at hand. It became obvious the more I talked to people that this was going to be that kind of place.
"Looking at the future, I thought this was a great opportunity for me, to take a team and help it get back to the level that it was accustomed to a few years ago. We've got a good core group, and we're going to add some pieces. The sky is the limit for some of our young people."
The Fever made the playoffs 12 consecutive times between 2005 and 2016, winning the 2012 WNBA title. But Indiana has been in rebuilding mode since Catchings' retirement after the 2016 season.
Stanley was a collegiate head coach from 1977 to 1993, including at Old Dominion, where her team won AIAW titles in 1979 and 1980 and the NCAA title in 1985. As a player in the 1970s, she won two AIAW titles at Immaculata College.
Stanley's college head-coaching career hit a roadblock after she filed an equal-pay lawsuit against USC in 1993, which was rejected by an appeals court, and then felt she was blacklisted. But she got an opportunity to be an assistant at Stanford and in 1996 became head coach at Cal before leaving for the WNBA in 2000.
She has been an assistant coach in different stints for three WNBA franchises: the Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty. She also was head coach of the Mystics from 2002 to 03 and was named WNBA Coach of the Year in 2002. She briefly returned to the college game as an assistant at Rutgers to C. Vivian Stringer from 2006 to 2008.
"We are young, and I think about individually what each player needs to work on," Catchings said. "A lot of it is empowerment. Marianne's proven time and time again what it takes to develop players and put them in the right position."