Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn coached the last regular season game of her distinguished career Saturday night at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. Before the Fever took down the Chicago Sky, Coach Dunn was honored before her colleagues and a crowd of over 10,000 fans. At center court, Coach Dunn was in the spotlight. Remarks were made by Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, PS&E Chief Operating Officer Rick Fuson, and Fever President and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. The crowd rose to their feet during the opening applause, and remained standing during the recognition ceremony. As each one took a turn to speak, it was clear the impact that this remarkable woman had made on each of them personally. Mayor Ballard made an official proclamation, declaring August 16, 2014 “Lin Dunn Day” in the city of Indianapolis. PS&E COO, Rick Fuson told Dunn, “ You helped guys like me understand that the women’s game is a as good as any game in the world,” which got the crowd cheering and clapping. A banner was unfurled at the Fieldhouse, next to the 2012 Fever championship banner, honoring Dunn as the Hall of Famer that she is. It is the first banner to be hung for any Fever player or coach. It’s presentation also garnered loud cheers from the crowd. Dunn retires with a distinguished coaching career dating back to 1970. She’s coached collegiate basketball (including eight years with the Lady Boilermakers at Purdue), Olympic basketball and of course, in the WNBA. Her own career as a player was limited to intramural leagues, since her years as a player were prior to the passing of Title IX.
The ceremony was brief, but it was time well spent honoring a person who’s done so much for promoting the WNBA, women in sports, and the advancement of women in general. It was a well-deserved tribute, and I’m glad my daughter and I were able to witness it together. The Fever went on to win their last regular season game over the Chicago Sky, 71-67. They dominated the first half, and while the Sky started to catch up as the clock ran down, they never once gave up the lead. The Fever are now the number two seed as they head into the playoffs. They will take on the Washington Msytics at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Thursday, August 21 at 7pm.