CHICAGO (AP) — Sheryl Swoopes is moving courtside as the new women's basketball coach at Loyola of Chicago. And the school is making a move of its own.
Swoopes, a four-time WNBA champion and three-time Olympic gold medalist, was formally introduced Monday. She takes over a Ramblers program eager for a revival as the school moves to the Missouri Valley Conference from the Horizon League.
"This has always been a lifelong dream of mine, to have the opportunity to do something that I love," Swoopes said. "That is to not only play basketball but be in position to pass that on to the up-and-coming generation."
The school in recent years has opened a new multipurpose athletic facility and remodeled its arena. Loyola has also accepted an invitation to the Missouri Valley, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because the move has not been announced. A formal announcement is expected this week, with the move taking effect on July 1.
Loyola is a Roman Catholic institution located on Chicago's far North Side. It men's team won the 1963 NCAA championship.
The coaching job is Swoopes' first at any level. She'll be the eighth women's coach in program history. Terms were not disclosed.
"I can't guarantee anything, but I can promise you this: I'm going to give everything that I have every single day," she said. "Everything that I've done and accomplished as a player, it's time to pass that on and I'm so thrilled for this opportunity."
A six-time WNBA All-Star and three-time MVP, Swoops scored 4,875 points during a 12-year WNBA career that wrapped up in 2011. She won an NCAA championship at Texas Tech and was the Naismith player of the year. Nike named a shoe after her, too.
"Sheryl Swoopes has been a household name for the better part of the two decades and she's achieved competitive success on every level," said M. Grace Calhoun, Loyola assistant vice president and athletic director. "Sheryl is a delightful mix of warmth, humility, genuineness and compassion. But she combines this with a fiery spirit that doesn't take well to losing."
"She will take you on in anything and she will beat you," Calhoun added. "Can't do is not part of her vocabulary."
Swoopes succeeds Eric Simpson, who resigned after four seasons. Loyola finished 17-15 last season, 10-6 in the Horizon League, and advanced to the league title game before falling to Green Bay.