Tina Thompson fired after four seasons as Virginia women’s basketball coach

WNBA legend and Naismith Memorial Football Hall of Famer Tina Thompson has been fired as Virginia women’s basketball coach after completing her fourth losing season managing the Cavaliers.

Virginia athletics director Carla Williams, who hired Thompson in 2018, announced Thursday the termination of Thompson’s contract, which has one year remaining.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the kind of success this show hopes for and deserves,” Williams said in a statement. “I am grateful for Coach Thompson’s efforts and wish her all the best.”

Thompson went 30-63 at Virginia in her first head coaching job, failing to guide the Cavaliers to a first-place finish in the first half of the ACC.

The Cavaliers, who saw their 2020-21 campaign canceled due to injuries and complications from the pandemic, finished 2021-22 with a score of 5-22 (2-14 in ACC play plus two losses) after losing to Wake Forest in the first ACC Championship round.

The school said a national search would begin immediately to find Thompson’s successor.

As the first pick in the inaugural WNBA draft in 1997, Thompson is one of the top players in the league. Her playing career, primarily with the Houston Comets but also stints with the Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm, includes four consecutive WNBA titles with the Comets (1997-2000) and eight All-WNBA titles. She was the league’s leading scorer until she was surpassed by Diana Torassi in 2017. Thompson also won Olympic gold medals with Team USA in 2004 and 2008.

Virginia’s women’s basketball program has a history of success dating back to the 1980s and 1990s. Under coach Debbie Ryan, the Cavaliers made 24 NCAA Championship games and advanced to seven Elite Eights between 1988 and 1996. With Dawn Staley on the field, Virginia reached three straight Finals from 1990 to 1992 and fell in the national championship game in 1991.

Virginia last won the Premier League title in 2000 and the Conference Championship crown in 1993.

The show recently spawned WNBA cartoonist Jocelyn Willoughby, who played half her career with Thompson before being drafted in the first round by the Phoenix Mercury and traded to the New York Liberty.

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Tina Thompson fired after four seasons as Virginia women’s basketball coach