The Minnesota Lynx are promoting Clare Duwelius to General Manager, the organization announced Tuesday morning.
“I could not be more excited for the opportunity to take on this new role with the Minnesota Lynx. Throughout my time with this incredible franchise, I have seen the epitome of hard work, passion, and what it takes to compete at the highest level on and off the court,” Duwelius said in a statement issued through the team’s press release. “I am thrilled to help continue that legacy and build on the success the Lynx have achieved. I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Coach Reeve, Glen and Becky Taylor and the entire Lynx organization for their belief in me.”
Entering her 10th season in Minnesota, Duwelius had previously served as Assistant General Manager since 2018 after receiving a promotions from Basketball Operations Coordinator and later Basketball Operations Manager. As Assistant GM, Duwelius worked closely with Reeve on every aspect of the team’s basketball operations, from scouting and contract management to budgeting, domestic and international player relations, and more.
A two-time WNBA Champion, Duwelius played a key role in the franchise’s championship runs in both 2015 and 2017.
“I have long felt that Clare Duwelius was one of our top free agent signings. Since 2014, she has proven to be an invaluable resource in every aspect of the Lynx franchise,” Reeve said in a statement. “Clare epitomizes all that the Lynx stand for in her passion, drive, work ethic, commitment, loyalty, and attention to detail. I look forward to partnering with Clare in her work as General Manager for the Lynx as she continues to make her mark on our franchise.”
Duwelius is the fourth General Manager in the franchise’s storied history, joining Brian Agler (1999-2002), Roger Griffith (2003-2017) and Reeve (2017-2022).
The move comes after Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve was promoted from General Manager to President of Basketball Operations last month. Reeve hinted during a press conference that her extension and promotion would create the opportunity for Duwelius to make the jump to GM.
“With regard to the positions and growth, that’s absolutely a vision for us and some of the people that we’ve had a part of this, that I owe so much to,” Reeve said in a press conference following the announcement of her extension. “The opportunity to grow, that was important and I think that’s embedded in all this. In due time that’ll be be the plan.”
That time is now.
“I just know that the people that have been a part of this [organization] have been incredibly committed, not just to our team, but to me personally. And so, what we’ve tried to do is have this partnership of, ‘What are [your] goals?’” Reeve told Canis Hoopus last month. “You do it with players, you sit down with players and say, ‘Hey, how do you want this to go for you?’ And you map it out and you work your butt off to try to get them to their goals. And you do the same thing with your staff.
“I can be really happy when there are stated goals and people can reach them. That’s fulfilling as as a leader, and that’s what everybody should be doing in our leadership positions, is how do we elevate those around us?” Reeve continued. “Professionally, that’s one of my greatest goals. [I’m always] looking at ways to continue to grow and just value people. That’s what it’s all about, is people. If you don’t have good people or you don’t value your people, you’re not going to get very good results.”
The Minnesota Lynx certainly have great people. Duwelius’s promotion is the latest example of Reeve and team ownership valuing those people and empowering them to make their best impact on the franchise.
“Lucky for me, Cheryl has always let me bite off as much as I can chew and get as involved as possible. She’s always had that mindset and it’s obviously been a huge contributor of why I’ve been able to grow alongside her. So, [I’m] forever grateful for that,” Duwelius said in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, before addressing how her day-to-day job will change.
“I hope to just carve out my value and be a little more strategically minded [with] what we can do for our roster, and I need to challenge myself in that department. Also, Cheryl has been great in challenging me in that as well. So hopefully just lean in more on the decision-making for roster management and that kind of thing.”
Now, Duwelius will help lead the Lynx through its biggest and most exciting offseason in years as the team looks to reload around franchise cornerstone Napheesa Collier.
“I’m super excited, looking forward to a busy offseason as they always are. But I think we have a great opportunity ahead of us to take a big bite out of free agency and I’m excited that we landed the number two pick,” Duwelius told Canis Hoopus on Tuesday. “[We] want to be really aggressive and do all we can to take the steps we need to improve our roster this season.”
And what might the final product of that those steps look like next season?
“Losing the best center to ever play in Sylvia Fowles is obviously no easy feat to replace that kind of talent,” Duwelius said. “But something that I’ve appreciated is when I got a chance to be a spectator [at the 2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup], it was awesome to see ... a really athletic and fast-paced, fast-tempo roster. The success that you can have if you put that together, it can be a really fun basketball team and product to watch. So I thought that was something that can be awesome.”
But until training camp begins next season, for Duwelius, it’s all about the work that goes into it alongside Reeve.
“Cheryl and I are excited to continue working together, but know we have a lot to improve on and [that we have] to stay aggressive,” she said. “Just keep trying to strive for everything that this franchise has stood on and the legacy that has been built. We obviously want to continue that so we can sustain everything that the Lynx are known for.”