Coach Nolan Richardson steps down

Teresa Edwards named interim coach as Shock falls to 1-10 on season.alt

TULSA, OK– The Nolan Richardson era as coach of the Tulsa Shock is over.

After the Shock lost it’s tenth game of the season on Friday night to the Phoenix Mercury 86-78 in the BOX Center, co-owner David Box met with Coach Nolan Richardson at which time it was determined it was in the best interest of the team and organization for the General Manager/Coach to step down and turn over coaching responsibilities on an interim basis to Teresa Edwards, the Director of Player Personnel for the team.

In his 45-game tenure as coach of the Shock, Richardson won only 7 games, the last being the club’s only victory thus far this season, a 77-59 win at home over the Washington Mystics on June 18.

Even with the disappointing start to the 2011 WNBA season for the Shock, the decision to replace Coach Richardson did not come easy.

“Despite the disappointing start to this season for the Tulsa Shock, the decision to consider a coaching change in mid season was extremely difficult. Coach Richardson is a legendary basketball coach who has earned the respect of the collegiate and professional basketball family for an exceptional body of work during his impressive 30 plus year career.” Box said in a statement released after the announcement.

“We will be forever grateful to Coach Richardson not only for coaching the Shock, but also for his enthusiastic effort to help us raise the money from this fine community to bring professional sports to Tulsa with the WNBA. We know Coach Richardson has been without question one of this community’s biggest fans. Our entire organization and team wish him only the very best and will always consider him a part of our Shock family and respect what he accomplished at the University of Tulsa and the University of Arkansas.”

“While I am saddened to leave the Tulsa Shock at this time and in this manner, I am also very disappointed in the way we have started the year, and as coach, I accept my share of the responsibility.” Richardson said in his statement. “I respect our organization and players. This is a class group of individuals who are committed to this community, organization and players. I will be forever thankful for the unique opportunity Bill and David and the entire ownership group gave me to re-enter coaching basketball, something I love to do and missed dearly.“

“I love Tulsa. This community has always been good to me and for me.” Richardson went on to say, “I want to especially thank my players for allowing me the honor to coach them in the WNBA where the finest women athletes in the world compete. I want to also wish Coach Edwards the very best moving ahead. She’s a top notch person. Please know that I will forever be one of the Tulsa Shock’s biggest fans.”

With Richardson’s resignation Shock assistant coach Teresa Edwards assumes command as interim head coach. Edwards brings an impressive resume to the Tulsa bench. A veteran of 5 Olympic games from 1984-1992, Edwards won four gold medals and a bronze as a member of the US Women’s Basketball team. A standout point guard for the University of Georgia, she helped lead the Lady Bulldogs to Final Four appearances in 1983 and 1985. In 2000, ESPN named her as one of the 100 Greatest Female Athletes of the 20th Century, placing her at #22.

Edwards first game as head coach of the Shock will be on Sunday July 10 when they face the Phoenix Mercury for the second time in 3 days. Then they will move on to face the Chicago Sky in the Windy City on July 13.  Her first game at home will be next Friday night when the Shock will entertain the Los Angeles Sparks at 7pm in the BOK Center.

Photos by Kevin Pyle.