TULSA, Okla. -- When Teresa Edwards joined the Tulsa Shock during the offseason, she was hired as the director of player personnel. She only joined the staff as an assistant coach after a little nudging from head coach and general manager Nolan Richardson.
Late Friday night, Edwards stepped into the spotlight when she was named interim head coach and general manager after Richardson resigned following the team's 10th loss in 11 games this season, an 86-78 setback at home against Phoenix.
"Taking over as an assistant coach wasn't even discussed," Edwards said of her initial hiring. "Nolan talked me into this. Imagine being me right now. I'm very excited and nervous too."
The five-time Olympian, who owns four gold medals and a bronze, admitted she had very little sleep after a late-night meeting with David Box, one of the team's principle owners.
"I don't think I will (get much sleep Saturday night)," Edwards said. "I've found some new nervous energy.
"This is an amazing transition, one I've never been in. I'm stepping into some huge shoes and probably would never fill the shoes I'm stepping into. I had a lot of respect (for Nolan). He's the reason I'm here. I respect him tremendously."
In a news release, Box said, "We are fortunate our basketball operation is headed by one of the most respected basketball minds in the profession in Teresa Edwards. Teresa knows our team well and the players respect her management, leadership and passion for the game. Her credentials are strong and she knows what it takes to succeed."
Edwards inherits a team that is 7-38 since moving from Detroit before last season. This year, the Shock are 1-10 while committing a league-worst 17.7 turnovers per game and allowing opponents to average 85.3 points.
"We still have a hard challenge ahead of us," Edwards said. "No one should forget that this is a new franchise and Tulsa (fans) have been the greatest fans in the history of a new franchise in what I've seen this league materialize into today. We need our fans to be supportive, to hang on tight and give us a time to develop, time to become who we are going to become.
"Like coach Richardson, I'm not here to fail, I'm here to give it my best shot. I want Tulsa to know that. We need them and I want (fans) to know that. This has been the greatest situation I've been in."
Edwards spent the 2006 season with the Minnesota Lynx as an assistant coach under Susie McConnell Serio, but said she will rely more on her playing experience than her brief coaching tenure.
"The coaching thing will always be a growing process," Edwards said. "That's another thing I learned from coach (Richardson). You never stop growing, never stop learning. It's just the beginning if you ask me."
Edwards was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and will join the Naismith Hall of Fame on Aug. 12, an event sandwiched between road games at Seattle on the 11th and at Minnesota on the 14th.
"It's all happened so fast," Edwards said Saturday in a hastily arranged press conference before the team's departure for Phoenix, where the Lynx open a two-game road swing on Sunday.
Her task ahead includes ending a five-game losing streak.
"You can't always keep things the same when you're building and the tower keeps falling down," Edwards said. "Coach (Richardson) was trying to do everything he could do. He was dealt some good, tough cards from last year to this year. I've got to be me. I have nothing against what he's done. I've been with him every step of the way. Right now, I have to learn who I am and be me. And figure out a way to be successful."