The following question was asked by Judith of Washington, D.C. to Mechelle Voepel of ESPN's Sports Nation:
Is Trudi Lacey a worse GM than she is a Head Coach, or is she just terrible at both jobs?
Maybe you're not going to get a greeting card from your team's front office, either, Judith? :) As we've discussed here before, Trudi Lacey has never been a dynamic winner at whatever level of coaching she's occupied. And in this go-round in the WNBA, what she's done is about what we should have expected. I almost feel sorry for her, though, because this season looks/seems even worse - if that's possible - because Mystics fans got their hopes up last year with what seemed like it was going to be a commitment to stability.
Trudi Lacey was know to me as one of Kay Yow's better players, but I incorrectly thought she played with Trena Trice on the 1987 ACC Tournament Championship Team. Lacey actually played for State from 1977 to 1981. During her period of play she averaged 15.1 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. These stats are not bad for a five-ten, one hundred and forty pound player (the height and weight is taken from the 1981 World University Games data where Lacey averaged 6.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game). At State, Lacey played on State's first and the inaugural ACC regular season championship team which had an ACC record of 9-0. Lacey set the then school scoring record of 41 points on February 7, 1981 against Mercer. Lacey was a four time All ACC Tournament team member.
Lacey was also the first black woman to receive a full basketball scholarship at N.C. State.
Here are some pictures of Trudi Lacey as a player at State.
History shows that Trudi Lacey could play, but the question remains as to whether she can coach.
In an article written for examiner.com entitled "Mystics need turnover if turnovers continue" Andy Arnold wrote:
The Mystics are not a bunch of girls. They are women. Professional athletes. If GM Lacey has not found a point guard, after one plus seasons, maybe it is time for her to go. If Coach Lacey cannot move her players to the correct positions on the floor, what good is she?
Lacey has coached at a number of universities and colleges including the University of Maryland, the University of South Florida, Francis Marion College, Manhattan College and James Madison University. She also was the general manager and coach for the now defunct Charlotte Sting and currently for the Washington Mystics.
The above information is taken from Lacey's bio at WNBA.com.
Lacey coached for the Charlotte Sting from 2003 until 2005. Her record was as follows:
2004 16-18; and
2005 3-2l (replaced by M. Bogues of Wake Forest fame).
Lacey coached at Queens College before coming to the Mystics where Lacey's record with the Washington Mystics is as follows:
2011 6-28; and
2012 2-9 (so far).
Mechelle Voepel wrote this for ESPN.com on November 3, 2010 within an article entitled "Mystics brass baffles fans":
.... Washington did win its first Eastern Conference regular-season title, but this is clearly no time for maintaining stability. In a teleconference Monday announcing new coach/general manager Trudi Lacey, who has moved between the WNBA and various college jobs, we reporters were told that things weren't rosy with Mystics.
"Even though we were successful on the floor, you have to understand we weren't successful on the business side," Mystics president and managing partner Sheila Johnson said. "And we just have to make these changes in order to keep the franchise alive."
Whoa! You can be sure that wasn't on the Donna Orender-approved talking points memo one might assume the WNBA sent to Johnson. The league generally doesn't acknowledge anything being at -- or even near -- the end of its rope until it's already a done deal.
So we are left to presume either the Mystics really are a salary cut or two away from disbanding or ... Johnson was engaging in a bit of hyperbole. If it's the latter, which wouldn't be surprising considering some of the absurdities of the rest of the teleconference, this is Johnson going off script again, to the WNBA's dismay.
In the same article Voepel wrote this:
Now, onto that subject, Johnson's explanation -- she told us she would make it "idiot-proof" for us -- was that Taylor was offered a deal she didn't want. Then Plank was offered the job of coach and GM, and she took a month of back-and-forth wrestling to decide she didn't want it. Then Lacey was elevated from director of basketball operations, which was kind of just a different name for assistant coach last season.
In other words, according to Johnson, if Taylor had taken the offer, the Mystics would have kept her and Plank in their same roles. But when Taylor left, it suddenly became an urgent franchise need/philosophy to combine the jobs to save money. Then the Mystics apparently allowed Plank -- again, according to Johnson -- to string them along for a month about whether she would accept the dual role, and ultimately she didn't.
"I really wanted to see if we could get to some sort of resolution on this, because I really did not want to lose her," Johnson said of Plank. "But I just couldn't move the needle with her. After 10 migraines, I decided I better move forward. I just couldn't hold out any longer."
I would guess some of the Mystics fans I've heard from have had 10 migraines while reading this story.
Look, perhaps things will work out with Lacey. And certainly Johnson can say and do whatever she wants as the head of the franchise.
Wow! Doesn't this sound like the Lowe situation? Lacey got the job of head coach with the Mystics despite her poor performance with the Sting because the desired "others" turned it down.
The penultimate sentence quoted in this article says it all:
Look, perhaps things will work out with Lacey.