How UConn prepared Kelly (Schumacher) Raimon for the WNBA

For former UConn women’s basketball center Kelly (Schumacher) Raimon, getting into coaching was all about returning to the sport she loves most.

Raimon helped lead the Huskies to their second NCAA title in 2000 and later won two WNBA titles. And after playing professional volleyball following her WNBA career, Raimon knew she wanted to get back to basketball.

This summer, Raimon enters her second season as an assistant coach with the Dallas Wings. It’s her third WNBA assistant coaching stop in a career that was molded by her time at UConn along with her new passion for the sport and the people behind it.

“I think I look at things different, like it (coaching) shows me that there’s a difference from when I was playing,” Raimon said. “And it’s just opened up my thinking a little bit to times have changed and I’m open to that and people have changed. I think dealing with them in a leadership way, I’ve learned a lot.

“It’s building the relationships side with the players and also with the staff. … I just like to be on the court again, like that part is exciting.”

After graduating from UConn in 2001, Raimon was drafted No. 14 overall by the Indiana Fever. In her nine-year career, she played for four teams and won two WNBA titles — first with Phoenix in 2007 and a year later with the Detroit Shock, which became the Tulsa Shock and later the Dallas Wings.

Raimon left basketball after the 2009 season and spent four years playing professional beach volleyball. She played on the AVP Tour and represented Team USA at the FIVB (Federation International Volleyball Beach) Tournament in 2013.

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA – AUGUST 15: Kelly Schumacher (L) spikes the ball against Summer Ross (ML) and Emily Day (MR) as Kendra Van Zwieten (R) at the 55th AVP Manhattan Beach Open on August 15, 2014 at Manhattan Beach Pier in Manhattan Beach, California. (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images)


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ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 31: Kelly Shumacher (Middle) spikes the ball over Olaya Perez (L) as Aurora Davis (R) watches at the AVP St.  Petersberg Open on May 31, 2014 at Spa Beach Park in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images)

ST PETERSBURG, FL – MAY 31: Kelly Shumacher (Middle) spikes the ball over Olaya Perez (L) as Aurora Davis (R) watches at the AVP St. Petersberg Open on May 31, 2014 at Spa Beach Park in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images)


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ST PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 30: Emily Day (R) attempts to block a shot against Aurora Davis (Middle) and Kelly Schumacher at the AVP St.  Petersburg Open on May 30, 2014 at Spa Beach Park in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images)

ST PETERSBURG, FL – MAY 30: Emily Day (R) attempts to block a shot against Aurora Davis (Middle) and Kelly Schumacher at the AVP St. Petersburg Open on May 30, 2014 at Spa Beach Park in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images)


Mpu Dinani/Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - AUGUST 9: Kelly Schumacher reacts after scoring a point at the AVP Salt Lake City Open on August 9, 2014 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.  (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – AUGUST 9: Kelly Schumacher reacts after scoring a point at the AVP Salt Lake City Open on August 9, 2014 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images)


Mpu Dinani/Getty Images


Kelly Schumacher playing professional beach volleyball on the AVP tour. | Getty Images

She momentarily resumed her basketball career in 2012 for a season in the EuroLeague but then returned to volleyball.