Seattle Storm coach Dan Hughes to miss 2020 WNBA season, team cites “higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19”
The Seattle Storm announced that head coach Dan Hughes will not travel with the team to IMG Academy in Florida for the 2020 WNBA season. Last year, Hughes missed nine games after recovering from surgery in May 2019 to remove a cancerous tumor in his digestive tract. The team revealed that Hughes could be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 after a recent medical assessment.
“I am saddened that I won’t be able to travel with the team as everyone knows how much love I have for this organization. I am thankful to be in good health and looking forward to supporting Coach Klopp and the staff and players in any way I can this season,” Hughes said. Gary Kloppenburg will serve as head coach this season with Noelle Quinn, recently promoted to associate head coach, and assistant coach Ryan Webb joining him. Previously, Kloppenburg served as the interim coach after a head coaching change in 2017, and also during the period during Hughes’s recovery from cancer surgery last season.
The WNBA has plans to begin play in late July in Florida in a bubble environment to protect players from the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine players have opted out of play, and a few have cited health concerns for skipping the season.
“While the Storm family is greatly disappointed that Dan will not be able to join the team this season, his health and family are the top priority. We know he will continue to be an important voice of support for the team and staff while we compete this season,” Alisha Valavanis, CEO and General Manager of the Storm said.