Vickie Johnson, Curt Miller, Mike Thibault and James Wade to Assist Cheryl Reeve, 2022 USA Women’s National Team in Washington, D.C.
WNBA head coaches Vickie Johnson (Dallas Wings), Curt Miller (Connecticut Sun), Mike Thibault (Washington Mystics) and James Wade (Chicago Sky) have been selected to support USA Women’s National Team head coach Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx) at the 2022 USA National Team training camp and FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Washington, D.C. The February 2022 USA National Team coaching staff was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.
All four will serve as court coaches during the Feb. 5-9 training camp. Johnson and Thibault will assist on the bench during the FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournament from Feb. 10-12, while Miller and Wade will continue as court coaches and team scouts during the tournament.
“This is a really strong collection of WNBA coaches,” said Reeve. “They possess great minds for the game, strong connections to the players, USA Basketball experience, and I am looking forward to working with them.”
One of four world-wide sites selected by FIBA to host a FIBA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament, the Washington, D.C., site features teams from the USA, Belgium and Puerto Rico competing Feb. 10-12. Puerto Rico will play Belgium on Feb. 10; the Feb. 11 contest features the USA against Belgium; and the women’s games conclude with a USA versus Puerto Rico clash on Feb. 12. All games will be held at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
The USA Basketball Women’s National Team Committee is chaired by Connecticut Sun president and 2018-21 USA National Team assistant coach Jennifer Rizzotti and includes Olympic and World Cup gold medalists Seimone Augustus and DeLisha Milton-Jones, 2017-21 USA National Team head coach Dawn Staley and WNBA head of league operations Bethany Donaphin.
Athletes selected for the training camp and competition are expected to be WNBA athletes.
USA team members, game times and ticketing information will be announced at a later date.
“It is a tremendous honor to represent your country and to be surrounded by so many great players and coaches, and I am blessed to be able to return for another year coaching with USA Basketball,” said Johnson. “I have been involved with the game of basketball in the United States and internationally for most of my life, and I am hoping my real-life experiences can serve as a guiding point for the women on this team. As a coach, I’m extremely prideful about teaching the game of basketball, and I am looking forward to continuing to build upon relationships I have built with this team the past two years, so that we as a staff are collectively able to put the ladies on the floor in the best positions to be successful.”
Johnson returns to USA Basketball after serving as a court coach for the 2019-20 USA National Team that finished with an 11-1 record against collegiate and international opponents. She returned as a court coach for the 2021 USA National Team's February minicamp in South Carolina.
Prior to being named head coach at Dallas ahead of the 2021 season, Johnson joined the Las Vegas Aces coaching staff as an assistant in February 2018, helping the team reach the WNBA semifinals in its second year in Las Vegas, while improving from eight to 14 to 21 wins from 2018 to 2019. In the 2020 WNBA 'wubble,' she helped the Aces to a league-best 18-4 record and the WNBA Finals. In 2017 Johnson was the head coach of the San Antonio Stars after spending the previous six seasons as a Stars assistant.
A two-time All-American and Sun Belt Conference MVP while playing for Louisiana Tech University, Johnson helped lead Lousiana Tech to the 1994 NCAA Championship game. After her 1996 graduation from Louisiana Tech, Johnson spent 13 years playing in the WNBA and Europe from 1997-2009. She is a two-time WNBA All-Star and earned the 2008 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award before beginning her coaching career with the Stars in 2011.
“I’m excited to return to USA Basketball, because I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with USA Basketball on both the women’s and men’s side,” said Thibault, who is compiled a 61-8 record with both men’s and women’s teams from 1993-2008, culminating with the women’s 2008 Olympic gold medalist team. “Any chance you get to represent your country on an international level, which is an exciting level of basketball, there’s a lot of pride in that. My experiences with USA Basketball have been unbelievably rewarding, especially with the people I’ve met and the places I’ve been.
“The opportunity to coach the highest level of women’s basketball has allowed me to coach players that I’ve respected as competitors and now get to be one of their coaches on the court. That’s always rewarding. We’re talking about the best of the best in women’s basketball. My past experiences with the national team will help this time around and coaching against some of our (WNBA) players and (international) competitors will be exciting.”
Thibault was an assistant coach for the gold-medal-winning women’s team at the 2008 Olympic Games and 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the bronze-medal-winning 2006 FIBA World Cup. He was head coach of two USA Basketball men’s teams, including the gold-medal winning 1993 FIBA World Cup Qualifying Team and silver medalist U.S. team at the 1995 Pan American Games.
Mystics head coach and general manager since December 2012, Thibault is the winningest coach in WNBA history with 357 regular-season victories. He led the Mystics to the WNBA Finals in 2018 and to a WNBA championship in 2019. Thibault was named the WNBA Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008 when he was head coach of the Connecticut Sun, and he earned the honor again in 2013 as the Mystics head coach.
“I am beyond excited and humbled with the opportunity to work with USA Basketball in the upcoming World Cup Qualifying Tournament,” said Miller. “I relished the last five years on the USA National Team selection committee, and my first-hand seat at training camps and competition gives me unique insight on the preparation that lies ahead."
While Miller previously served as a member of the 2017-21 USA Basketball Women’s National Team Committee, this marks his first stint on the court with USA Basketball.
Miller’s 2021 squad finished the season with a league-best 26-6 slate and advanced to the WNBA semifinals, for which he earned a second WNBA Coach of the Year honor. His first came in 2017 after a record turnaround from a 14-20 finish in 2016 to 21-13 in 2017.
In his six years (2016-21) at the helm of the Connecticut Sun, Miller has compiled a 111-75 regular season record and advanced the Sun to the playoffs in each of the past five seasons. His playoff runs have included a trip to the 2019 WNBA Finals and the 2020 and 2021 semifinals.
Prior to launching his WNBA head coaching career with the Sun, Miller spent 13 years (2001-02 through 2013-14) as a collegiate head coach at Bowling Green University and Indiana University. In all, Miller compiled a 290-124 record and advanced nine teams to postseason play, including a run to the 2007 NCAA Sweet Sixteen with Bowling Green.
“It has been a dream of mine to be involved with USA Basketball in any capacity, so I am very excited and honored to be selected to this position,” said Wade, who in February will join his first USA Basketball staff. “I've always been a big fan of their structure and how dominant of a team they are. As a proud American citizen, being a part of this process is going to be amazing.
“What I’ll bring to the mix is my work ethic and ability to work with other people – I'll always bring good energy. I've already had experiences with the players and coaching staff so I’m looking forward to coming right in and being as helpful as possible. I’m ready to do whatever they need me to do.”
Making an immediate impact in Chicago, in his first year as head coach Wade was named the 2019 WNBA Coach of the Year after leading the Sky to its first playoff appearance in three years. This past season, Wade and the Sky finished with a 16-16 record in the regular season and went 8-2 in its run to the 2021 WNBA Championship.
Wade began coaching in 2012 as an assistant for the San Antonio Stars through 2016 and from 2017-18, served as an assistant coach to Reeve and the Minnesota Lynx, which won the 2017 WNBA crown, before taking over as head coach for the Chicago Sky in 2019. He also served stints in the EuroLeague for BLMA in France and UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia, where he aided Ekat to the 2018 EuroLeague title.
FIBA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament
A total of 16 nations will compete in the four FIBA World Cup Qualifying Tournaments. The top three finishing teams in each of the four qualifying tournaments will advance to the 2022 FIBA World Cup, which will be held Sept. 22-Oct. 1 in Sydney, Australia. Should Australia and/or the U.S., which already are qualified for the World Cup as the host nation and 2020 Olympic gold medalist, respectively, not finish among the top three teams in their respective tournaments, only the top two teams from those groups, plus the U.S. and/or Australia will advance to compete in the FIBA World Cup.
Competing in the Belgrade, Serbia, Group A are Australia, Brazil, Serbia and South Korea; Belgrade Group B consists of China, France, Mali and Nigeria; and competing in Osaka, Japan, will be Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada and Japan.
The USA team will be comprised of members from the initial 2022-24 USA Women’s National Team pool, which will be announced at a later date. The pool will be fluid and additional athletes may be added over the next three years.