The Detroit Shock will relocate to Tulsa, Okla., and will be owned by a group of investors led by Oklahoma businessmen Bill Cameron and David Box, WNBA President Donna Orender announced today. The sale and move are pending WNBA Board of Governors approval.
Nolan Richardson will become the team’s general manager and head coach.
“We are thrilled to have a team in Tulsa with such a strong championship pedigree, and we look forward to continuing the tradition of success that has been its hallmark,” said Cameron, lead investor and chairman of Tulsa Pro Hoops, LLC. “We are confident this team will make Tulsa proud, both on the court and in the community.”
Cameron is the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of American Fidelity Assurance Co., one of the nation’s largest private, family-owned life and health insurance companies. Box is founder of The Box Talent Agency, the largest talent agency in Oklahoma.
“The WNBA congratulates Bill and David,” said Orender. “We are confident that with their business acumen, passion for the game and commitment to the community, the team will achieve great things in Tulsa. At the same time, we are grateful to the Davidson family, the Pistons organization and the great fans in Detroit for helping us grow the game of women’s basketball.”
“This decision was one of the toughest we have ever made; it was not reached easily,” said Tom Wilson, President, Palace Sports and Entertainment. “The Shock has been a true force in the WNBA, but the fact of the matter is that the economic realities have caused us to make this decision. We deeply appreciate what the Shock have meant to Detroit and want to publicly thank the players, coaches and the entire organization for their class, commitment and championships. They represented Detroit well and we are delighted that they have found a new and exciting home in Tulsa. We are sure the fans in Tulsa will quickly embrace these dedicated players.”
During the Shock’s tenure in Detroit, the team appeared in four WNBA Finals, capturing three championships (2003, 2006 and 2008). This past season, the team finished 18-16 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Richardson, former head coach of the men’s programs at the University of Arkansas and the University of Tulsa, guided both schools to championships. At Arkansas, he led the Razorbacks to the NCAA title in 1994 and a national runner-up finish the following season. Prior to that, Richardson took the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to the National Invitation Tournament title in 1981. He won more than 500 games at Tulsa and Arkansas.