Karleen Thompson begins her second season at Clemson as Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator. Thompson has exceptional experience at the highest level of women's basketball competition, and is a valuable asset to Coleman's staff.
Thompson will work with the post group in 2011-12 and continue to coordinate the defense after working with wings during the 2010-11 season. She helped the wings to a school record 185 three-pointers made last season.
Thompson also filled in as interim head coach during Itoro Coleman's maternity leave, coaching the Tigers to a 3-1 mark during the first month of the season.
"I am elated about the addition of Karleen to the Lady Tiger family," said Coleman. "She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion for the game of basketball. Karleen is a very accomplished player and coach. Her story is one of triumph, resilience and determination. Her drive to be successful will undoubtedly be contagious in our program and also in recruiting."
While Thompson has not coached in college prior to 2010-11, she has a winning pedigree and basketball knowledge that will instantly put her among the top assistants nationally.
"I'm very excited to join the coaching staff of Coach Itoro Coleman," said Thompson. "I look forward to working with Coach Coleman, the players and the other members of the Clemson University athletic family. I am totally committed to helping Coach Coleman build a basketball program that will compete annually for the ACC and National Championships. I am ready to get to work on those challenges."
Thompson boasts an impressive resume, which includes over 13 years of service within the WNBA. Most recently, she was the Head Coach and General Manager of the Houston Comets for two seasons, after serving as an assistant for two seasons. Prior to her time with the Comets, she spent nine years in the Los Angeles Sparks organization, rising as high as co-head coach following the mid-season departure of Michael Cooper.
In her time with the Sparks, the organization won two WNBA Titles, and Thompson served as an assistant on the Western Conference All-Star team for two seasons. Thompson was also an assistant coach for the WNBA Select Team that captured second place in the FIBA Women's World Cup 2003, which was held in Samara, Russia. Thompson also served as an assistant coach for Spartak Moscow in the Moscow region (2006-07).
Thompson is a 1997 graduate of the University of Southern California, where she lettered in basketball for two seasons after beginning her career at Contra Costa College in Northern California, where she was a Kodak All-American. During her stint at Southern Cal, she was on a Trojan team that featured Lisa Leslie and forward Tina Thompson. Thompson double-majored in Psychology and Sociology for the Trojans, before going on to work with Gatorade in the Sales and Marketing Department.
In High School, Thompson was a highly recruited three-sport athlete in basketball, volleyball and track out of Snyder (Texas) High School. Thompson has two daughters, Ayesha and Keisha.