Three assistants join U.S. women's hoops

Updated: February 16, 2006, 4:58 PM ET
Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Gail Goestenkors, Dawn Staley and Mike Thibault joined coach Anne Donovan's staff Thursday as assistants on the U.S. women's world championship and 2008 Olympic basketball teams.

Goestenkors, the coach at top-ranked Duke, was an assistant coach at the Athens Olympics. Thibault, the coach of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, has USA Basketball experience on the men's side from the 1990s. Staley is a three-time Olympian and coach at No. 23 Temple.

"Our backgrounds are all somewhat diverse, and bringing all that experience together will make us a very tough, well rounded staff," Donovan said.

They will coach the U.S. team at the world championships in September in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The winner of the worlds automatically qualifies for the Beijing Olympics.

Staley, the point guard who led U.S. teams to three consecutive gold medals, is making her Olympic coaching debut. She also won two world championships.

"I expect that this level will be the most challenging for me, being on the other side of the whistle," Staley said. "I'm going to approach this challenge the same way that I did as a player, helping Anne in any way that I can and doing whatever it takes to come away with nothing less than the gold."

Goestenkors was the 2003 Naismith coach of the year. Thibault led the Sun to two of the last three WNBA finals. Staley has earned consecutive Atlantic 10 coach of the year honors.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press