SEATTLE— Dan Hughes will not coach the Seattle Storm during the 2020 WNBA season over concerns about his risk for severe illness if he were to contract COVID-19, the team said Monday.
The decision was made following a medical assessment by the league and in consultation with Hughes’ primary care physician. The WNBA is set to begin its season in late July with all teams playing in Florida.
“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,” Storm CEO and general manager Alisha Valavanis said.
Hughes, 65, had surgery last year to remove a cancerous tumor from his digestive tract. He missed nine games while recovering.
Seattle promoted Gary Kloppenburg to head coach for the season. Kloppenburg served as the interim coach last season while Hughes was out.
“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.
Seattle also promoted Noelle Quinn to associate head coach. Quinn played 12 years in the WNBA and retired after Seattle’s league title in 2018. She joined Seattle’s coaching staff last year.