“We are thrilled to welcome Crystal to the Storm family,” said Hughes. “She brings extensive coaching experience on every level, from high school, college, to the WNBA. She was a special player on the highest level of professional basketball, including the early years of the WNBA. She will be an effective communicator to the players, coaching staff and Seattle Storm community.”
Robinson enjoyed a long, successful professional basketball career in both the ABL and WNBA. The ABL’s Rookie of the Year in 1997, she played for the Colorado Xplosion from 1996-98, before being drafted sixth overall in the 1998 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty. She competed for the Liberty from 1999-2005, leading the WNBA in three-pointers her first season at Madison Square Garden, connecting on 43.7% from deep. She signed with the Washington Mystics for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but spent the majority of 2007 as an assistant coach in D.C. after announcing her retirement on June 1 of that year.
Welcome to Seattle, Crystal Robinson! 👋🏀
9-year @WNBA veteran Robinson rounds out Dan Hughes’ coaching staff as an assistant! ✅
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) January 16, 2018
Following her playing career, Robinson returned to her native Oklahoma and was named the Murray State College women’s basketball head coach, leading the Lady Buffs to an overall record of 79-37 spanning 2009-12. She spent one season as an assistant at Utah State (2012-13), and the following year, joined the Texas Christian University women’s basketball program in the same capacity for the 2013-14 season.
“I am very excited to join Coach Hughes and the Seattle Storm,” said Robinson. “It is an honor to join a franchise with a winning tradition, and I am fortunate for the opportunity to learn, grow and win with such a talented roster.”
A 2011 Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Robinson played her collegiate basketball at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She graduated in 1996, re-writing the program’s history books, leaving her name in the top 10 in all statistical categories except one (FG%). She is still the program’s all-time leader in points (3,023), rebounds (1,165), assists (547), and steals (376), and has since been inducted into the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame. Upon graduation, Robinson competed for the USA Basketball Women’s National Select Team in 1997.
Hughes was named the sixth coach in Storm franchise history on Oct. 4, 2017. Having coached more WNBA games than any other coach in league history, the two-time WNBA Coach of the Year enters his 17th season on the sideline. Hughes spent 11 years as the head coach and general manager for San Antonio, from 2005-09 and 2011-16, guiding the Stars to six postseason appearances. Prior to San Antonio, he led the Cleveland Rockers from 2000-03, and was elevated to head coach in Charlotte midway through the 1999 season, posting a 10-10 record with the Sting.
Gary Kloppenburg returns as an assistant coach for the Storm for his second-consecutive season with the franchise, previously serving as an assistant in Seattle from 2000-02. He enters his 15th overall season as a coach in the WNBA, with stops in Phoenix as an assistant in 2003, with Indiana from 2008-11, and in a head coaching role with Tulsa in 2012 and 2013. He was an assistant with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2014, and he joined Stephanie White’s staff with the Indiana Fever in 2015-16. Kloppenburg served as the Storm’s interim head coach for the final eight 2017 regular season games, leading the team to a 5-3 clip, and an 0-1 record in the 2017 WNBA playoffs.
Ryan Webb returns to the franchise for his fourth season (16th overall) on the sideline, and will oversee player development. Webb spent 2015-17 as an assistant coach with the franchise, and worked with the team in a player development capacity in 2014. From 2003-13, Webb was a constant at Storm practices, working his way up as a veteran practice player, and was named ‘head practice player’ during the 2013 season. He was in charge of ensuring the practice team was prepared to run scout offenses and defenses.
Talisa Rhea enters her third season as the team’s director of basketball operations. Rhea oversees all daily team operations, including travel logistics, video and equipment, facility management, and practice scheduling. A former Seattle University women’s basketball standout, Rhea graduated in 2012 with a degree in sport and exercise science. She received her M.A. in sport management from the University of Illinois in 2015.
The Storm’s medical staff will be managed through the team’s partnership with Swedish Medical Center, under the direction of Dr. Adam Pourcho and Dr. Jeff Cary, returning for their third seasons. Athletic trainer Tom Spencer enters his 11th season with the Storm, and Emily Blurton embarks on her second season as the strength and conditioning coach.
The Storm is set to tip off its 19th WNBA season in 2018 at KeyArena on the Seattle Center campus. Season ticket memberships are available now by calling (206) 217-WNBA (9622) or by visiting StormBasketball.com.