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Who is Gary Kloppenburg?

Posted by Alex W.C. on 6:35 PM
Today the Tulsa Shock announced their new head coach for the 2012 season - Gary Kloppenburg.

While he may not exactly be a household name, Gary "Klopp" Kloppenburg is not a stranger to the WNBA, the NBA or just about any area of basketball.

According to usabasket.com, "He (Gary) coached at virtually every level of both college and professional basketball, ranging from his beginnings at a California Community College and intertwined with jobs in the NBA, WNBA, Continental Basketball Association and internationally. Coach Kloppenburg has also conducted basketball clinics in Greece, Belgium, Iceland and Japan."

Gary has had quite the career in hoops, here is just a snapshot:

Head Coach:
1988-1993: Lassen Junior College (NJCAA) women's team
1993-1999: Lassen Junior College (NJCAA)
2007-2008: Reno Sharpshooters (ABA)

Assistant Coach:
2000-2001: Quad City Thunder (CBA)
2001-2004: Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
2004-2007: Charlotte Bobcats (NBA)
2008-2011: Indiana Fever (WNBA)

(For the full resume - click here)

Gary looks like, if anything, quite a logical choice for the Tulsa Shock, who are looking to make an impression after two struggling seasons.

Yet, just hours after the announcement, I was surprised to see Gary feeling the wrath of WNBA fans. On the WNBA's facebook page, comments like, "who's this Gary dude?", "It's not fair to Edwards." (referring to interm head coach, Teresa Edwards) and "They need to let a woman coach a women's team."

Seriously? The guy hasn't even gotten to use his parking spot, and already there is the casting of doubt. First of all, if you want to know about someone, read up (I did), second, Edwards stated several times that she wasn't sure if the position was something she was interested in. Third, it's a tricky argument when you talk about gender and coaching, but all I will say is that Gary can't help that he's a guy, and that the Shock picked him. Gender and sports is a debate that is for a whole other blog post.

C'mon people, the guy hasn't even been given a chance to coach a game, make a trade, or do anything that coaches do. I recommend two things. One - do your homework - here's a few places to start:

USAbasket.com
Hoopedia.com
Fanbase.com
wnba.com

Check out a video when Gary was assistant coach during the Fever's 2009 trip to the finals:



Two - give the guy a fair shot. He's got the resume, and the experience. Not to mention the monumental task of reconstructing a team that has been de-constructed and is just now being rebuilt, and without center Liz Cambage for the first half of the season. That is quite a hefty undertaking if you ask me.

Let's see what he can do. Then if the Shock start losing, then rip into him. For now, at least just let the man get comfy at his desk, or as I would prefer, behind the whistle.

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