Former Sky assistant, Sun coach Stephanie White weighs in on dual coach/general manager role

White has never served in the dual role of coach and general manager, but her feelings are similar to those around the league: They are two jobs meant for two separate people.

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Connecticut Sun coach Stephanie White

Current Connecticut Sun coach and former Sky assistant Stephanie White believes the coach and general manager jobs should not be held by the same person.

Darron Cummings/AP

The sidelines are a familiar place for Sun coach Stephanie White.

After a six-year hiatus, she has made it perfectly clear coaching is where she belongs. After WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones was dealt to the Liberty in a trade two months into White’s job, questions lingered about the Sun.

The Sun opened the season 10-3, beating the No. 1 Aces before being dealt another blow. Forward Brionna Jones suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in an 85-79 victory against the Storm on June 20.

Since then, they are 4-2, anchored by four-time All-Star Alyssa Thomas.

White’s career in the WNBA began as a player, but her coaching career in the league started with the Sky.

After being drafted by the Charlotte Sting with the 21st overall pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft, she was acquired by the Fever following her rookie season. White played four seasons in Indiana before beginning her full-time coaching career, first at the collegiate level.

Following stints as an assistant coach with Toledo, Kansas State and Ball State, White joined the Sky’s staff. She served as an assistant coach under Bo Overton in 2007 before spending three seasons on Steven Key’s staff.

“I have so many great memories here,” White said. “The people especially made it special. So, every time I get to come back, it’s like coming back home.”

In 2011, she joined the Fever staff as an assistant and remained there until 2016. Her final two seasons were as a head coach, and she led the Fever to the WNBA Finals in 2015.

In the coming months, Sky executives will need to determine whether or not to remove the interim status on coach/general manager Emre Vatansever. They’ll also need to make a decision regarding the dual role.

White never has served in the dual role of coach and general manager, but her feelings are similar to those around the league: they are two jobs meant for two separate people.

“Both jobs require so much time and so much organization,” White said. “I don’t even want to think about having to crunch numbers from a salary-cap standpoint while trying to crunch numbers trying to figure out how we’re going to win ballgames.

I understand why it was like that early in the league. I think it was financial, not having the manpower. The league, at that time especially and some organizations still are, having one person doing multiple people’s roles. It just burns people out. They’re not able to do their best. So, I’m thankful we’ve seen the shift. I think it’s the way it should be.”

Ruthy’s return

Ruthy Hebard was cleared to return to play July 3, just 12 weeks after the birth of her son, Xzavier.

She dressed for the game Friday against the Dream, but her first minutes came Sunday. Vatansever said his decision to hold her out of the Sky’s loss to the Dream was more about getting Sika Kone minutes to gauge her development. Against the Dream on Sunday, Hebard had one rebound in five minutes. Vatansever said Hebard isn’t on any kind of minutes restriction but there still will be an adjustment period. She played one minute Wednesday.

“It made me smile,” Hebard said. “I worked really hard to be here and I was happy to see that I’m still fast.”

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