Texas hires former WNBA great as assistant coach

Tina Thompson is introduced as the Longhorns' newest women's basketball assistant coach

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas women’s basketball head coach Karen Aston announced the hiring of Tina Thompson as the team’s newest assitant Monday.

“If you have someone that you think can relay a certain skill, or relay a way of doing things that can help them be successful, that’s really what this business is all about,” Aston said. “It really was a no-brainer, especially after I met her and had a chance to visit with her.”

Thompson was hired to replace Jalie Mitchell who left the program this offseason to become head coach at her alma mater, North Texas.

“I had my sights set on Tina Thompson and it was an exciting process to get her to consider Texas,” Aston said. “We’ve worked really, really hard in the last three years on recruiting, but this might be the best recruiting job we’ve done so far.”

This will be Thompson’s first collegiate coaching job, but she had been a coach at the club level in Houston, which is what put her on Aston’s radar as a potential candidate.

“I don’t think the the tough recruiting job was getting me to come to Texas, I think that the recruiting came in getting me to coach in general,” Thompson said. “I was very comfortable just kinda coaching the club girls that I was coaching, and just helping them in any way I can and watching them grow. It was very rewarding.”

In 1997, she was the first draft pick in WNBA history when the Comets took her with the No. 1 pick in the innaugural WNBA draft.

She went on to win the first four championships in league history with Houston and left as the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer when she reitred in 2013. Thompson also won two gold medals with the US women’s basketball olympic team in 2004 and 2008.

“You give your absolute best in any situation that you can, and I think in women’s basketball, I think we’ve gotten away from that a little bit,” Thompson said. “The way the game has grown and social media and so much attention that we’re forgetting about the work and what’s necessary to happen before the lights are turned on.”

Thompson, a Los Angeles native, played for the University of Southern California from 1993-1997 where she led the Trojans to the Elite Eight in 1994 and was a three-time All-Pac 10 honoree.

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