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Video: Vickie Johnson should be at top of Lady Rebels’ coaching candidates list

(Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images)

National search underway to identify near leader for Lady Rebels.

UNLV Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois confirmed Friday that she has accepted the resignation of Kathy Olivier as head women’s basketball coach.

Olivier served as the seventh head coach in program history, spending 12 seasons leading the Lady Rebels (2008-20).

“I want to thank Kathy and her staff for their contributions to our women’s basketball program,” Reed-Francois said. “We wish her well and know that she will continue to remain involved with the program as a decorated alumnae.”

With Kathy Olivier stepping down at UNLV and a vacant coaching position. In addition to a professional WNBA team established in Las Vegas – Aces’ assistant coach [Vickie Johnson] is the perfect fit to become the Lady Rebels next head coach.

Current radio color analyst for the Orlando Magic (Richie Adubato) explains why Becky Hammon and Vickie Johnson are great candidates to be head coaches at any level.

Richie Adubato is a former basketball coach in the (NBA). He has served as head coach for three NBA teams: the Detroit Pistons, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Orlando Magic. With Adubato as the head coach in 1996-97, the Magic went 21-12 in the regular season and made the playoffs.

 

The Magic nearly upset Pat Riley’s Miami Heat in the playoffs with the help of spectacular play from Penny Hardaway, but ultimately lost the series 3-2.

In 1999, he took over as the head coach for the WNBA’s New York Liberty, making his WNBA debut on June 10, 1999 when he guided the Liberty to an 87-60 victory over the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Rockers.

With the Liberty posting impressive attendance figures for the third straight season, Madison Square Garden played host to the first-ever WNBA All-Star game a sellout (18,649) – on July 14, 1999.

Four Liberty players were selected to the Eastern Conference squad: Rebecca Lobo, Teresa Weatherspoon, Kym Hampton, and Vickie Johnson. With Adubato at the helm, the Liberty posted an overall mark of 18-14 and won its first Eastern Conference title. After defeating Charlotte in the first round of the playoffs, the team faced a rematch with the defending WNBA champion Houston Comets.

 

Despite falling short of the title, the series was pushed to a third game when Weatherspoon made the most famous shot in WNBA history — a half-court, buzzer-beating shot that won Game Two before a stunned Houston squad and Compaq Center crowd.Under Adubato, the Liberty went to the finals three out of four seasons and won the Eastern Conference regular-season championship three times.

 

Adubato took over as coach of the Washington Mystics, but left the Mystics on June 1, 2007, reportedly upset over his team’s 0-4 start to the season, a number of recent transactions, and his contract status. Adubato currently serves as the radio color analyst for the Orlando Magic. Adubato has been an assistant NBA coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, and Orlando Magic and an NBA scout for the Atlanta Hawks.

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