INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Fever fired coach and general manager Pokey Chatman on Monday, a day after the team finished with a third straight losing season.
"It's always tough when looking at the personal side and being able to build friendships and relationships from that standpoint," said Tamika Catchings, Indiana's vice president of basketball operations. "It's tough. Looking at the business side, we felt that this was the direction that we needed to go."
Chatman took over in 2017 and had a 28-74 record. She had spent the previous six years coaching the Chicago Sky, where she had a 106-98 record.
Catchings said the first priority is finding a coach, but she was open to a coach who also could serve as general manager. Catchings will make the decisions with Allison Barber, the team's president and COO.
"We want to find the best candidate," Catchings said. "That might be a (coach from a) professional league, might be a former player, might be a college coach. I think right now, we're just getting through today."
The Fever finished the season with consecutive victories to go 13-21. They more than doubled their win total of six victories from 2018.
But the standard is much higher than that. The Fever reached the WNBA Finals three times with Catchings as a player, including a championship in 2012. At one point, the Fever reached the Eastern Conference Finals five straight years.
Catchings said she believes the Fever have the talent in place to improve quickly, led by leading scorer Kelsey Mitchell, veteran Candice Dupree, All-Star MVP Erica Wheeler and rookie Teaira McCowan. The Fever also will have a lottery pick in next year's draft. Indiana has the second-best chance to get the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery.
"I feel like we have a lot of great pieces and we a lot of great players that we'll be able to build around, along with having our core group of players." Catchings said.
(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)