CHICAGO — The Chicago Sky have chosen one of the best-known players in the history of the Women’s National Basketball Association to lead the team moving forward.

Teresa Weatherspoon is coming to the Windy City to begin a new era of the franchise.

The Basketball Hall of Famer has been named the sixth full time head coach in the history of the Sky, with the news becoming official on Thursday afternoon. She replaces James Wade, who resigned as the head coach and general manager of the team in July to take an assistant coach position with the Toronto Raptors.

Emre Vatansever served as interim head coach for the rest of the 2023 season, with the Sky qualifying for the WNBA playoffs for a fifth straight year. They lost in the opening round to the Las Vegas Aces in a two-game sweep.

Unlike the previous regime, the head coach and general manager role will be filled by two people.

“We are thrilled to welcome Teresa Weatherspoon as the new head coach of the Chicago Sky,” said Sky co-owner & operating chairman Nadia Rawlinson. “A WNBA legend and five-time All-Star, Olympian, and college national champion, Teresa brings a wealth of NBA and college coaching experience to the Sky. Her standard of excellence and history of winning at all levels, coaching expertise, knowledge of the game, passion, energy, and skill in player development make Teresa the perfect choice to build on our championship culture and usher in an exciting new era.”

Weatherspoon, who was one of the early stars of the WNBA in the late 1990s and early 2000s, comes to Chicago after serving as an assistant with the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA from 2020 through 2023.

She began her career as a coach with the Westchester Phantoms of the American Basketball Association in 2007-2008 before moving to her alma mater of Louisiana Tech. An associated head coach for one season, Weatherspoon was the head coach of the program from 2009-2014.

After being fired following the 2013-2014 season, she was away from coaching until she joined the Pelicans as a two-way player developmental coach. In 2020, she was promoted to assistant coach by then-head coach Alvin Gentry and remained in that position when Willie Green took over in 2021.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Chicago Sky Family,” said Weatherspoon in a statement released by the team. “To be the leader, as Head Coach, of an organization in a city with so much history and culture is a dream come true. The things that we are about to do as a team, a business and in the community will be rooted in excitement, excellence and hard work.

“I am thankful to the entire Chicago organization for going through this process and selecting me. I can’t wait to get to work!”

Many recognize Weatherspoon from her outstanding career as a player, starting at Louisiana Tech, where she was a two-time All-American for the Lady Techsters and the Wade Trophy winner for best upperclassman player in women’s basketball in 1988. That year, she helped Louisiana Tech to the national championship.

After playing overseas from 1998-1996, she joined the new WNBA in 1997, playing for the Liberty until 2003 then the 2004 campaign with the Los Angeles Sparks. In the early days of the league, she was one of the best players. Weatherspoon was named a five-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, leading the league in steals twice and assists once.

She was named to the WNBA’s 15th and 20th anniversary teams, which helped her induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 2019.

Weatherspoon still has one of the greatest moments in the history of the WNBA from September 4, 1999 in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals against the Comets. Down by two and facing elimination in the three-game season with 2.4 seconds left, the guard let a shot fly from past half court and banked it in, giving New York a 68-68 win to force Game 3.