TULSA, Okla. (January 3, 2011) – After an extensive search and interview process, the Tulsa Shock have named Gary Kloppenburg the new head coach of the franchise.
"We are extremely excited and looking forward to Gary leading our team on the court in 2012 and beyond," Owner Bill Cameron said. "His experience in this league along with his reputation and basketball knowledge will translate to progress on the court in 2012."
Kloppenburg has served as an assistant under Head Coach Lin Dunn with the Indiana Fever since 2008. The Fever have finished with three consecutive 20-win seasons since 2009 including two regular season first place finishes in the Eastern Conference in 2009 and 2011. Kloppenburg helped coach the Fever to the WNBA Finals in 2009.
"We are thrilled and extremely fortunate to welcome Gary Kloppenburg to our organization," President Steve Swetoha said. "Coach Kloppenburg brings an abundance of experience and knowledge of the women's game and specifically the WNBA that is going to help build this team not only in 2012 but for many seasons to come."
Kloppenburg got his start in the WNBA with the Seattle Storm in 2000 where he served as an assistant until 2003. After a brief stint with the Phoenix Mercury, Kloppenburg served as an assistant with the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats from 2004 to 2007 before joining the Fever in 2008.
"Gary will be a great hire for Tulsa. He has had great experiences with the Seattle Storm, Indiana Fever and Charlotte Bobcats," Indiana Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn said. "He will make Tulsa an immediate playoff contender. We wish him all the best."
As head coach, Kloppenburg will work closely with Swetoha on all basketball operations including player personnel decisions related to the current roster and the 2012 WNBA Draft. The Shock currently have the fourth, 17th and 25th picks overall in this spring's draft.
"I am really excited about the opportunity to come to Tulsa, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on building a winning franchise," Kloppenburg said. "I'll work non-stop with our staff and front office to build a team that the community can be proud of. We have a good core of young players to build around and with the upcoming free agency period and draft, we will have a chance to be competitive right away."
Kloppenburg will begin assessing the current roster in preparation for the opening of league-wide free agency on January 15. The 2012 WNBA Draft will follow at the conclusion of the women's college basketball season.
"There are a number of excellent free agents available that I am confident will want to come to Tulsa and become a part of a franchise on the rise and we will be aggressively reaching out to them in the coming months," Kloppenburg said. "I envision a Shock team next season that will play tough and aggressive pressure defense as well as be able to run an up tempo and early flow offense. We know we have a lot of hard work to do in 2012, but good players and coaches relish challenges such as the one in front of us."