The New York Liberty announced today that Bill Laimbeer, a WNBA Coach of the Year and three-time WNBA Champion, has been hired as the team’s general manager and head coach.

It was also announced today that John Whisenant, who served as head coach and general manager, will be leaving the team. In two seasons with the Liberty (2011-12), Whisenant compiled a 34-34 record, guiding the squad to a pair of playoff berths.

“We’re excited to have Bill Laimbeer join the New York Liberty as our general manager and head coach. He has brought his winning pedigree and passion to the WNBA and I believe he will play a large role in bringing a championship to the Liberty,” said Allan Houston, the New York Knicks’ assistant GM, who also oversees Liberty basketball operations. “We appreciate Coach Whisenant’s dedication to our team and the organization, and wish him well in the future.”

“I am very excited to return to the WNBA, and for the opportunity to join the New York Liberty,” Laimbeer said. “I missed the competitive fire of players like Cappie Pondexter and Plenette Pierson, two hard-nosed competitors for the Liberty. The commitment of our fans and the City will be invaluable in our quest to bring a WNBA championship to New York.  After all, that’s really all that counts.”

Laimbeer previously spent eight seasons from 2002-09 as general manager and head coach of the Detroit Shock (now Tulsa Shock), where he earned WNBA Coach of the Year honors in his first full season as head coach (2003). He took over a team that finished 9-23 in the previous year and led them to a league-best 25 wins the following season. The 16-win improvement was the largest in WNBA history. Laimbeer led the Shock to a 137-93 (.596) overall record, including six-straight playoff appearances as the squad won the WNBA Championship in 2003, 2006 and 2008.

A 14-year NBA veteran, Laimbeer was a four-time All-Star for the Detroit Pistons. As a member of the famed “Bad Boys,” Laimbeer totaled 13,790 points and 10,400 rebounds in his career, becoming just the 19th player in NBA history to eclipse 10,000 in both categories. A integral member of back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990, he had his jersey No. 40 retired by the franchise in 1995.