Tina Thompson Named Texas Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach

Filed under: Sports,UT Women's Basketball |

AUSTIN, Texas — Women’s basketball legend Tina Thompson is the newest member of the Texas coaching staff.

Thompson — the first overall pick in the inaugural WNBA Draft, two-time Olympic Gold medalist, and four-time WNBA champion — was introduced as an Assistant Coach on Karen Aston‘s staff on Monday.

thompson“It feels great to be a Longhorn,” Thompson said. “The tradition of pursing excellence at UT is very much how I live my life. I love coach Aston’s passion and her good will, in the sense that she absolutely cares; it is about creating opportunities for young women who can be successful in basketball and long after their playing career. I’m really excited start working with a dynamic staff that is fully dedicated to the pursuit of excellence for our student-athletes and the program.”

Thompson arrives at the Forty Acres after a trailblazing career in the WNBA, in which she began as the first overall draft pick in 1997 and ended as the league’s all-time leading scorer in 2013.

“Tina is incredibly respected and recognized as one of the greats in our game, and to have her bring her knowledge and passion to the Forty Acres is an absolute home run for Texas Basketball,” Aston said. “In fact, this may just be our best recruiting job thus far at Texas. Her legacy includes championships and success at every level.

“As she brings her world champion and gold medal experiences to Texas, her ability to teach and mentor our players on the ‘how-tos’ of being successful on and off the court will resonate with them on a daily basis. I am truly excited for the opportunity to work with Tina and have her beside us all as we continue to move Texas back to national prominence.”

Throughout her 17-year professional playing career, Thompson was a four-time WNBA champion with the Houston Comets (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), a member of the WNBA All-Decade team, an eight-time All-WNBA team selection, a nine-time WNBA All-Star, and the WNBA All-Star MVP in 2000.

After 12 seasons in Houston, the Los Angeles native returned to her hometown in 2009 as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks. She became the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer on August 8, 2010, scoring her 6,264th career point to pass Lisa Leslie — a former teammate of Thompson’s at the high school, college and professional levels.

Thompson ended her professional career with the Seattle Storm in 2013 and still stands as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 7,488 points in 496 games played (15.1 ppg).

On the international level, Thompson has won two Olympic Gold Medals as a member of Team USA in 2004 (Athens) and 2008 (Beijing). She has also participated in other professional leagues overseas. Following the 2001 WNBA season, Tina played for Rovereto Basket in Italy and in 2003 she joined the Kumho Falcons of the Women’s Korea Basketball League (WKBL). In 2006 and 2007, she played for Spartak Moscow Region (Euro league) and in 2010 for the MCM TârgoviÅŸte in Romania.

Thompson played collegiately at the University of Southern California (1993-1997) where she helped USC compile a 77-37 record, and led the team to three NCAA tournament appearances (1994, 1995, 1997), including an Elite Eight appearance in 1994. A three-time All-Pac 10 selection at USC, Thompson was a second-team All-American as a senior in 1997. She finished fifth on the university’s career lists in scoring (2,248 points) and (1,168 rebounds).

Thompson graduated from USC in 1997 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology.

Thompson was born on February 10 in Los Angeles, California, as one of five siblings — two brothers and two sisters. She gave birth to her son, Dyllan, in May 2005.

Tina Thompson
“It feels great to be a Longhorn. The tradition of pursing excellence at UT is very much how I live my life. I love coach Aston’s passion and her good will, in the sense that she absolutely cares; it is about creating opportunities for young women who can be successful in basketball and long after their playing career. I’m really excited start working with a dynamic staff that is fully dedicated to the pursuit of excellence for our student-athletes and the program.”

Head Coach Karen Aston
“Tina is incredibly respected and recognized as one of the greats in our game, and to have her bring her knowledge and passion to the Forty Acres is an absolute home run for Texas Basketball. In fact, this may just be our best recruiting job thus far at Texas. Her legacy includes championships and success at every level. As she brings her world champion and gold medal experiences to Texas, her ability to teach and mentor our players on the ‘how-tos’ of being successful on and off the court will resonate with them on a daily basis. I am truly excited for the opportunity to work with Tina and have her beside us all as we continue to move Texas back to national prominence.”

Women’s Athletics Director Chris Plonsky
“We are absolutely thrilled that Tina is now a member of our staff. She is simply one of the best female players collegiately and professionally in the last two decades — 17 years of the highest level of basketball. In most of those years she has been considered a leader, a coach on the floor, and someone who exhibits the utmost in teamwork and class. She is a tremendous coach. She will have such a good influence over our young women at Texas. She has been in their shoes as a player at the highest level. That credibility and validity are things that you rarely find in that kind of combination. We are so proud she is going to start her collegiate coaching career here at The University of Texas.