WNBA Veteran Julie Plank Joins Gators as Assistant Coach

26-year coaching veteran Julie Plank has joined the University of Florida women’s basketball team’s staff as an assistant, interim head coach Kelly Rae Finley announced Wednesday morning.
 
Plank, who has put together an impressive track record in both the professional and collegiate ranks, spent 12 seasons coaching in the WNBA and was an assistant at Stanford for 10 seasons.
 
“I am extremely excited to join the Florida Gators women’s basketball family this coming season. I am very grateful to Kelly Finley for this opportunity and look forward to working with her staff and the highly-talented players on this roster. The passion, energy and support from the entire staff were evident from the beginning,” said Plank. “The University of Florida has always been committed to excelling at the highest level and I am thrilled to be able to coach in that environment.”
 
The Columbus, Ohio native most recently served as assistant with the Atlanta Dream and across three different NCAA programs, Plank has amassed a 343-104 record.
 
After an impressive collegiate career playing under Tara VanDerveer with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Plank broke into the coaching ranks at nearby Capital University where she spent two seasons (1984-86) as the head coach before heading west.
 
Joining her former college coach at Stanford as an assistant, Plank helped guide the Cardinal to eight-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (1988-95), four Final Four berths (1990-92, 1995) and a pair of NCAA National Championships (1990, 1992).
 
“We are thrilled to welcome Julie to Florida. After initial conversations it became clear that Julie is the perfect fit for our program as a whole. Her contagious energy, attention to detail, experience and positive outlook on life will impact us all each day,” said Finley. “Julie has invested significant time elevating the game of women’s basketball and her impressive resume speaks for itself. She brings years of experience coaching at the highest levels and we are confident that together we will provide the best possible environment for our student-athletes to succeed on and off the court.”
 
After playing her part in Stanford’s ascension to national prominence, Plank relocated to Vanderbilt University. Plank oversaw VU’s recruiting and scouting efforts for two seasons as the Commodores advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1998.
 
Following over 10 years spent working at the NCAA Division I level, Plank made the move to the WNBA in 2000 and served on the Indiana Fever’s inaugural staff. Helping launch a brand-new franchise, Plank played a crucial role in four playoff appearances as assistant coach and director of scouting over the course of her seven seasons in Indianapolis. The Fever appeared in two Eastern Conference Finals once in 2005 and again in 2007. A year later, she joined the Minnesota Lynx where she served on Don Zierden’s staff for the 2008 season. Plank coached Olympian Seimone Augustus and the 2008 Sixth Player/Woman of the Year Candice Wiggins.
 
Following a lengthy run as an assistant, Plank took over head coaching duties for the Washington Mystics in 2009. She achieved great success in the nation’s capital, helping steer the Mystics to two playoff appearances and an overall record of 38-30. She led the team to a 22-12 record in 2010 and a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history.
 
In 2013, Plank served in an assistant coach role for the Atlanta Dream. Under Plank’s guidance, the Dream advanced to the WNBA Finals after finishing second in the Eastern Conference.
 
In addition to her collegiate and professional success, Plank also has international experience as she held an assistant coach role for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1999 through the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Coaching alongside Nell Fortner, Plank produced gold medals in the 2000 Olympics and the 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup.
 
Before her coaching career took off, Plank was an excellent player herself. She played four years with the Buckeyes and was a three-year starter. As a senior, Plank led OSU to a 23-5 record and the program’s first-ever Big 10 title. She played her prep hoops in the Buckeye state as well starring for Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus where she collected two state championships.

Following a successful 12-year run coaching in the WNBA, Plank served as a scout for the league from 2013-2017 and spent the last few years back home taking care of her family in Ohio.
 
Plank coached a slew of former Gators including Vanessa Hayden (Minnesota, 2008), Aneika Henry (Atlanta, 2013), Bridget Pettis (Indiana, 2002-03) and Delisha Milton-Jones (Team USA, 2000 Olympics).
 
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