Coach Spotlight: Karleen Thompson

by Jordan Watters, Media Relations Intern

With many years of experience in basketball, both collegiately and professionally, Coach Karleen Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Atlanta Dream.

Growing up with 11 other siblings in the house, playing sports was a way of life for her. In addition to basketball, Thompson excelled in volleyball and track during her high school years, earning All-State honors in all three sports.

I loved them all, Thompson said. I enjoyed the competition, and I was just able to do it. But I did have a special love for basketball.

Thompson still possesses that special love, as evidenced by her dedication to the sport. Her rsum includes both head and assistant coaching positions at the highest levels of womens basketball.

She came to the Dream after serving as Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator at Clemson University for three seasons from 2010-13.

For the collegiate level, I have much respect for those assistant coaches because they work hard, Thompson said. Its a nonstop task. But I enjoyed working with the younger players by developing and getting to know them on that level.

But coaching professionals is even more near and dear to Thompsons heart.

I absolutely love the pro level, Thompson said. Working with the elite athletes, being able to see talent in every position, and still building on what theyve developed into is just great.

Reuniting with head coach Michael Cooper is also on her list of great things in professional womens basketball. Thompson spent eight years in the Los Angeles Sparks organization from 1997-2004, and helped Cooper guide the Sparks to WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002.

Coop is like my older, older, older brother! Were very close, Thompson said. We have a good balance. We know each other well, and Ive learned a lot from him. Just to be back with him is comfortable because I understand and know what he wants. I could probably finish a sentence for him.

As Thompson moves forward with the season, she plans to help bring home a WNBA Championship to Atlanta. Her message to the Atlanta Dream organization and its fans is: Lets make this dream a reality!