To give an idea of the significance of Wednesday's event, consider some of the folks sitting front row at Target Center when USA Basketball named Cheryl Reeve as the new women's national team head coach:
Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, who flew up from Florida despite her hatred of cold weather, to support her coach and general manager. Lindsay Whalen, who took time out from her Gophers coaching duties. Rebekkah Brunson. There is a lot of gold and title rings in that group. Behind them, other Lynx players.
"It's very surreal, initially,'' Reeve said of her reaction when first offered the job, which will lead to the 2024 Paris Olympics. "Things start to settle in, and you start to have feelings. You're honored, humbled, grateful. And you feel excited. You're honored to be a part of one of the greatest sports dynasties ever.''
Reeve, 55, has been a part of USA Basketball for years, of course. She was an assistant coach on teams that won Olympic gold in 2016 and 2020 and won titles at FIBA World Cups in 2014 and 2018.
Now she follows Dawn Staley as the top coach of a program that has won seven consecutive Olympic gold medals.
No pressure, right?
Reeve has seen it before. The quiet plane rides to the Olympics, the joyous rides home. The knowledge that winning is expected.
"Pressure is what you make of it,'' Reeve said. "I know I've had that same situation here with the Lynx, the expectation to win a championship every year here is something I've managed. The thing is, you don't talk about gold medals, you don't talk about winning championships. You talk about the daily work you have to do. Focus on the little success, because they lead to bigger success.''
Reeve is in store for a busy year to start her reign as the program's head coach. She will lead the USA at the 2022 FIBA World cup qualifying tournament in Washington, D.C. in February while preparing for the WNBA draft. She will coach the Lynx during the 2022 season, then coach the U.S. team at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney, which starts Sept. 23.
And, of course, should the team qualify, lead the team to Paris for the 2024 Olympics.
"Life will get a little more stressful,'' said Reeve, who has won four WNBA titles in her 12 seasons in Minnesota. "But that seems like the permanent stage of things. We're stressed about something all the time. So why not add a little more to it? I'm at an age now where my perspective is much greater. I don't look too far ahead. You can't look up and out, that's overwhelming. You take it a little at a time.''
Reeve's appointment means the return of a coach of a professional team to the position, something Reeve has said is a good idea, considering the team is made up of WNBA stars. Her working knowledge of the league's top players — and their experience with her through USA Basketball — will make that a smooth transition.
The key, Reeve said, is being herself. There isn't a lot of time to prepare for any of the coming events. So the key is to settle on an identity, then hit it every time the group is together. Reeve knows the flexibility of top WNBA players, who are used to going from playing for their WNBA team to playing overseas to playing for USA Basketball. "So you get in there, get your identity, value the time you have and make sure you surround yourself with really competitive people.''
She was surrounded by a lot of those kinds of people Wednesday. Reeve talked about how blessed she's been to be surrounded by so many good people along her coaching path, from college at Indiana State, her time as a WNBA assistant, to the Lynx.
"Each stop of the way I've been blessed,'' she said. "I was in the right place at the right time. I just tried to take advantage of the opportunities I've been given.
"I can't say enough about our Lynx family. There's no owners better to play for than Glen and Becky Taylor. It's not lost on me that I'm sitting here because of some really great players that we've had."