Karen Bryant, former longtime executive for the WNBA's Seattle Storm, has been named chief administrative officer and general manager of the Los Angeles Sparks, the team announced Tuesday.
Bryant was with the Storm for 15 years, including championship seasons in 2004 and 2010. She left in 2014 to start an advisory company focused on women's sports. She was hired as a strategic adviser for the Sparks in 2021, then took on the role of interim president for the team.
Bryant helped hire current Sparks coach Curt Miller and president Vanessa Shay. The Sparks have been without a general manager since former coach/GM Derek Fisher was fired in June during the 2022 WNBA season. Fred Williams served as interim coach for the rest of the season, then Miller left the Connecticut Sun in October to take over as Sparks coach.
"I'm really excited to partner with Curt, Vanessa and the rest of our team to usher in a new era of Sparks basketball," Bryant said in a statement. "We are committed to building a culture and organization that is representative of the incredible legacy this franchise carries. I want to thank (managing partner) Eric Holoman and our ownership group for this opportunity and their continued investment in the Sparks and the WNBA."
The three-time WNBA champion Sparks have missed the postseason the past two years. It's the first time they've been out of the playoffs in consecutive years since 1997-98, the WNBA's first two seasons.
Bryant's hiring comes as the WNBA's free agency process begins this month, with players being able to officially sign starting Feb. 1. The Sparks have six unrestricted free agents, including sistersNnekaand Chiney Ogwumike.
Bryant's new role is one of several administrative and coaching moves in the WNBA since the end of the 2022 season.
Mike Thibault, who was coach/GM of the Washington Mystics, retired as coach and will focus on the GM role, as his former assistant, Eric Thibault, takes over as head coach. Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve moved from general manager to president of basketball operations, and Clare Duwelius was promoted from Lynx assistant GM to general manager. Reeve continues as head coach.
When Miller, who held the dual roles of coach and GM for the Sun, left for the Sparks, Connecticut replaced him with coach Stephanie White and general manager Darius Taylor.
Two other WNBA teams hired new head coaches: Latricia Trammel for the Dallas Wings, and Christie Sides for the Indiana Fever.