- The Washington Times
Monday, November 11, 2019

Monday was Kristi Toliver’s first day back on the job as a Washington Wizards assistant coach, a few weeks after helping the Washington Mystics claim their first WNBA title.

Toliver, 32, joined the Wizards‘ staff full-time in the 2018-19 season. Wizards coach Scott Brooks confirmed she will return to that role this season — now that she’s had some time off to recuperate following the Mystics’ victory in the WNBA Finals.

Brooks is serious about Toliver’s promise as a full-time coach when she retires from playing.

“Like I said last year, it wasn’t a gimmick, and it’s still not a gimmick,” Brooks said. “She is a bona fide potential head coach in any league she wants to be in.”

The way Brooks phrased his praise seemed to leave the door open to an NBA coaching career. The NBA has never had a female head coach, although some, including future Hall of Famers Pau Gasol and Gregg Popovich, expect it to happen eventually. Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon is regarded as the woman most likely to break that barrier.

Brooks joked that with Toliver returning, “I’ve got my boss back,” and said Toliver helped him improve as a coach last season.

“I’ve learned when you coach the millennials, it’s 10 positives to one criticism. And she doesn’t realize that yet,” he said. “She’s criticizing me often and every now and then gives me a positive.”

As Toliver led the Wizards in a dribbling exercise at the tail end of practice, the team surprised her with a video on the Entertainment and Sports Arena scoreboard screens congratulating her on her WNBA title.

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