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 following a six-season absence from the WNBA playoffs.

Sides -- replacing Marianne Stanley, who was let go at midseason, and Carlos Knox, who finished the season out on an interim basis -- has extensive experience coaching at the collegiate and professional levels, most recently serving as an assistant under Tanisha Wright for the Atlanta Dream in 2022.

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

"I want to thank the Simon family, Lin Dunn and the entire Pacers Sports & Entertainment organization for this opportunity," Sides said in the statement. "It is an honor to be a part of a world-class sports franchise. Indiana has a great winning tradition and I am excited to team up with Lin and the rest of the organization in laying the foundation for sustainable success as we enter the next era of Fever basketball."

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

Sides worked on the staff of former collegiate and WNBA head coach Pokey Chatman (now an assistant for 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 its storied history, which includes at its height the 2012 WNBA title and a run of playoff appearances from 2005 to 2016, the Fever have suffered since the retirement of franchise player Tamika Catchings in 2016, only achieving one 10-win season in the past six years. Under Stanley -- who took over in 2020 following Chatman's firing -- and Knox, the Fever finished the 2022 campaign 5-31, and with 18 straight losses.

They have the opportunity 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 tabbed 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 is the only other organization that needs to fill an open head-coaching job, as 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 earn the No. 1 pick -- takes place Nov. 11.