As the 2023 WNBA season inches closer, the Minnesota Lynx have finalized their coaching and basketball operations staff ahead of the new year.
On Wednesday, the Lynx announced two changes on the assistant coaching staff and two more on the basketball operations side with a pair of promotions and hires within the organization.
On the coaching staff, Minnesota promoted former Lynx player and assistant coach Rebekkah Brunson to the role of second assistant coach while hiring Kristin Haynie to join the coaching staff.
On the basketball operations staff, Michelle Blexrud has been promoted to the role of Basketball Operations Manager while Madison Schiller has been hired by the Lynx to take over the data scientist position.
After concluding her playing career with the Lynx in 2018, Brunson joined the Lynx coaching staff in 2020 and wrapped up her third season as assistant coach in 2022.
In 2023, she will see an expanded role while assisting in opponent scouting efforts, player development and draft preparation.
“Rebekkah continues to impress in her passion and aptitude for coaching,” Lynx Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations Cheryl Reeve said in a statement from the team. “She has been impactful in her contributions to our staff and players and will no doubt play a key role in the continued success of the Lynx franchise.”
Haynie fills an open assistant coaching spot on the Lynx staff while joining Minnesota after serving as an assistant coach on the Michigan State women’s basketball staff the last three years.
As a player, Haynie enjoyed a stellar career at Michigan State before joining the WNBA in 2005 with Brunson and the Sacramento Monarchs. Over a five-year career, the guard averaged 3.5 points, 1.8 assists and 1.6 rebounds over 160 games.
Along with spending time with Brunson as a teammate in Sacramento, Haynie also has a history with Reeve and fellow assistant coach Katie Smith when they were on the coaching staff with the Detroit Shock during Haynie’s time there as a player in 2009.
“As a former player in the WNBA, Kristin brings a wealth of expertise and a reputation that precedes her,” Reeve said. “Kristin’s devotion to the game and its players will no doubt be a great asset to our coaching staff and franchise.”
Blexrud has been with the Lynx for the last seven years, having held multiple roles since joining the organization in 2016 as the Basketball Operations Associate. In 2020, she was elevated to the role of Basketball Operations Coordinator, now being promoted again in what will be her eighth season.
In her role, Blexrud will be responsible for executing day-to-day tasks of the basketball operations department, including managing domestic and international player logistics as well as coordination of team travel and equipment.
A former student-athlete at Cal State East Bay, Schiller broke into the analytics side of basketball at the professional level while most recently working with the Phoenix Suns on basketball research and strategy.
In the Data Scientist position with the Lynx, Schiller will work with predictive models and will analyze basketball datasets using advanced statistical techniques to build and aid in decision making for basketball operations.