The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream recently announced that retired veteran Kia Vaughn has been hired as the new basketball operations associate and Kiara McClendon as the director of player engagement, the latter being a newly created role.
Vaughn played 13 years with the WNBA. She was drafted in 2009 by her home state team, the New York Liberty, and also played with Washington Mystics and Phoenix Mercury. She did her last season with Atlanta Dream in 2022.
Now the 3-time Czech National League champion will work under the leadership of former WNBA champion and head coach Tanisha Wright, WNBA veteran Vickie Johnson and the Atlanta Dream’s staff for the 2023 season as the first member of the Dream’s Retired Player Transition Program.
“It’s important that we continue to create opportunities for former players right here within the WNBA,” Wright, who is the team’s head coach, said of Vaughn. “I am thrilled we are able to provide an opportunity for Kia to begin this next phase of her career with our organization. She has been a consummate professional throughout her career and was a major contributor in our success both on and off the court last year, and I look forward to watching her blossom in her next chapter.”
In her newly created position, McClendon will serve as the director of player engagement. In this role, she will be the primary off-court liaison helping players seamlessly transition into life in Atlanta and bolster their lives off the court.
“A major part of her role will also include coordinating player programming and educational enrichment sessions centered around financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and other topics pertaining to their interests and goals,” per the announcement’s press release.
“It is an exciting time to be a part of the Atlanta Dream franchise and larger WNBA and to pave the way as our first director of player engagement,” McClendon exclusively told REVOLT. “I look forward to building strong relationships with and solidifying amazing off-the-court opportunities for our players and coaches; helping our players grow and prosper in their personal and professional pursuits, and making sure they enjoy our great city of Atlanta. It’s extremely important to support women’s basketball and invest in the development of our players as people first, so it’s awesome to be able to lead those efforts for our team.”
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