Charli Turner Thorne’s coaching tree just grew a little bit larger.
On Wednesday, Arizona State announced that Briann January will join the women’s basketball staff as an assistant coach. The assignment won’t affect January’s other occupation as point guard for the Indiana Fever.
“Charli and I have been in communication about my transition into coaching for a few years now and so this opportunity came at the perfect time,” January said in a statement published by Arizona State. “Being able to go back to my alma mater and give back is a dream-come-true opportunity for me.”
January, 30, gave a lot to Arizona State during her college career, earning two Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year awards and two trips to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament. She remains the school’s all-time leader in assists and holds the second spot in steals.
January’s accolades continue to accumulate at Indiana, where she has played since she was drafted in 2009. She was part of the Fever’s WNBA championship run in 2012 and earned an All-Star selection in 2014. Turner Thorne hopes January can continue adding up achievements.
“Anytime I’m out recruiting I use Bri as an example of what we look for in a Sun Devil,” Turner Thorne said in a statement. “Bri’s competitive spirit, positive energy and basketball IQ are tremendous and we are looking forward to her sharing all those outstanding attributes with our current and future Sun Devils.”
Thanks to the gap between college and WNBA seasons, players taking up coaching jobs is a regular occurrence. Dawn Staley is among the most notable examples, balancing head coaching commitments at Temple with her WNBA duties for six years.
January should have plenty of talent to work with when she begins her coaching duties. Arizona State has reached the NCAA tournament for four straight years and flirted with an upset against South Carolina in the second round this year. However, the Sun Devils lost their top two scorers to graduation.