Tom Wilson, President and CEO of the Detroit Shock and Palace Sports and Entertainment, announced today that Bill Laimbeer has resigned from his duties as head coach and general manager of the Detroit Shock. In a related move, Wilson announced that effective immediately, Rick Mahorn has been promoted to head coach and Cheryl Reeve has been promoted to assistant coach/general manager.
“It’s disappointing that Bill has decided to step down as head coach and general manager of the Detroit Shock,” said Wilson. “But at the same time, Bill led the Shock to three WNBA Championships and a league-record 27 postseason victories during his seven-year tenure. We thank him for his guidance and dedication to the franchise and our organization.”
Laimbeer’s three WNBA titles (2003, 2006, 2008) are one shy of the WNBA record held by Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor, who guided the Houston Comets to the first four WNBA titles in league history (1997-2000).
In his first full season as head coach, Laimbeer orchestrated a historic worst-to-first turnaround, for which he was named 2003 WNBA Coach of the Year. The Shock, 9-23 a year earlier, won a league-best 25 games and the 16-game turnaround was the largest in WNBA history.
In addition to three WNBA titles during his tenure, the Shock won four Eastern Conference Championships (2003, 2006, 2007, 2008), amassed a regular-season record of 137-92 (.598) in 229 WNBA games and won a WNBA record 10 WNBA Finals games. Laimbeer’s six consecutive playoff appearances rank second all-time in WNBA history and his 137 victories rank fifth in league history.
As a general manager, Laimbeer is credited with the drafting of 2003 WNBA Rookie of the Year Cheryl Ford, acquiring 2003 WNBA Finals MVP Ruth Riley in the 2003 WNBA dispersal draft and the acquisitions of 2008 WNBA Finals MVP Katie Smith and 2007 Sixth Woman of the Year Plenette Pierson.