WNBA news: Katie Smith named New York Liberty head coach

The New York Liberty have made official what we all knew was coming.

Katie Smith was formally named head coach of the franchise on Monday after four seasons on the staff alongside Bill Laimbeer.

Laimbeer left the Liberty last week to take over as head coach and general manager of the Stars, who are reportedly in negotiations to move to Las Vegas.

The Summitt first reported Smith’s promotion late last week. She will be the seventh head coach in franchise history.

In a press release from the team, she said:

“I am excited for this opportunity to continue to work with the amazing women of the New York Liberty in a new role. I want to thank James Dolan, Isiah Thomas, and Madison Square Garden for entrusting me to lead this team, along with Bill Laimbeer for all that he did to bring me along over the past four seasons, and prepare me to become a head coach in the WNBA. I am grateful to have the opportunity to take on this next challenge in my career.”

Smith’s qualifications for the post are well-documented. As a player, she is the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball history, with 7,885 points. Over 15 seasons in the WNBA, she was named to seven All-Star teams, is a two-time All-WNBA First Team selection, two-time WNBA champion, and three-time Olympic gold medalist.

In her four seasons with the Liberty, they have gone 81-55, and have now won 20-or-more games in three straight seasons for the first time in franchise history. In 2016, she was named one of the top-20 best and most influential players in WNBA history.