October 4, 2010 – Long time coach Lauri Conner will be taking over the varsity girls’ basketball program for the 2010-11 season. Conner is known to many in the community for her longtime leadership in the track program, as a poet, a teacher, and as the school’s Diversity Director. But she’s also served in a variety of roles within the girls’ basketball program. Over the years, Conner has served as a varsity assistant, as JV coach, and as coach of the Middle School Red team. Prior to coming to Seattle Academy, Conner also coached basketball at The Bush School, Holy Names Academy, Washington Middle School, and Garfield High School. In fact, she’s coached most of the current varsity players when they played basketball in the Middle School. Athletic Director Tim Colvin notes, “The school is lucky to have an experienced coach like Conner, who is able to step in and provide leadership. Conner can provide immediate continuity in the program, and she has a long track record of supporting individual growth as well as athletic achievement.”
Ashley Knight will also be joining the program as the varsity assistant coach. Ashley graduated from Garfield and went on to play at and graduate from Eastern Washington University in Cheney. In addition to coaching, Ashley is a certified PE and Health teacher. Another Garfield graduate, Jamila Bates, will replace Conner as the coach of the Middle School Red Team. Jamila played collegiately at George Washington University, and she currently works as a social worker for a local youth services agency.
Former Seattle Storm player and current color analyst Adia Barnes has also joined the Seattle Academy basketball staff. Adia will serve as Director of Player and Coach Development. In that role she’ll be a presence in both the middle and upper school programs, as a resource in practice planning, player motivation, and on the sidelines with coaches.
“I am really excited to be joining Seattle Academy,” said Barnes. “I love working with athletes in a practice setting; it gives me the opportunity to work with kids one on one to support their improvement, and it’s always fun to be part of a team. The role we’ve created at Seattle Academy gives me that chance to work with players but also to support the coaches. I’ll be a resource for them in practice planning, in thinking through how to best implement offensive and defensive approaches that play to the strengths of their players, and as another set of eyes and ears from the bench. I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with Seattle Academy students, parents, and alumni. Everybody I’ve met has been as humble as they are successful. I’m impressed with the school’s athletic, artistic, and academic accomplishments. It’s going to be a fun community to be a part of. ”
“Adia will be a great addition to our program,” said Assistant Head of School Rob Phillips. “It’s rare to find somebody who has the range of talents, relevant experiences, and passion for working with kids. Anybody who has heard her cover the Storm knows she’s a great analyst of the game and can see both the player and coach perspective, and she has tremendous passion for the game. But she’s equally passionate about working with kids (through her foundation, Adia’s Dreams in Action), and being a dynamic contributor to the greater Seattle community. So we’re thrilled about having her in a leadership role in our basketball program.”
Barnes is a seven-year WNBA veteran. She played professionally for the Storm, the Minnesota Lynx, and the Sacramento Monarchs. Barnes also played internationally with Dynamo Kiev in the Ukraine. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona where she is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,237 points. She played for the Storm from 2002-2004, after signing with the team as a free agent. With her strong defense, determination, and hustle she became a starter by the end of the 2002 season. In 2003 she started the team’s first sixteen games before tearing her left ACL. She came back the next year and saw action in all thirty-four games. Barnes, thirty-three, became the Storm’s color analyst in 2007.
Adia is looking forward to the start of the Seattle Academy basketball season in November and to getting to know the coaching staff and players throughout the year. As she noted, “Working with the Storm this season has been a dream; it was really a magical season. So hopefully we can tie into some of that magic at Seattle Academy this season and keep that Storm momentum going for the Cardinals!”