ASU legend Charli Turner Thorne joins Mercury coaching staff

AP Photo/Rick Osentoski

The Phoenix Mercury announced Friday that Charli Turner Thorne, the winningest coach in ASU basketball history, has joined interim head coach Nikki Blue’s coaching staff as an assistant.

Blue was an assistant for Turner Thorne at Arizona State from 2019 to 2022, the year Turner Thorne retired.

“Charli is one of the top coaches in women’s basketball – a proven winner – and I am excited to be able to coach alongside her again,” Blue said. “She brings more than 28 years of experience to the Mercury, and will be invaluable in providing our players with every opportunity to improve individually and as a team.”

Blue mentioned that Turner Thorne was the second phone call she made after she got the Mercury job.

“She was very supportive, as she always is,” Blue said. “She said, ‘You’re ready. You’re beyond ready.’”

This comes after Blue won her first game as a head coach in PHX’s 85-63 win over the Fever, where an emotional Blue spoke on how much her first victory meant to her personal journey:

Included in that story, was a note about Turner Thorne wanting Blue to take over the ASU coaching job following her retirement. And Blue wanted the job too.

However, administration opted to open up the search and hired Natasha Adair, who already saw success as a head coach at the collegiate level at that point.

Now, things have come full circle for Blue and Turner Thorne, as Blue cited a quote that helped her reach this point: “God doesn’t call on the qualified, he qualifies the called.”

Their first game reunited will be on Saturday against the Lynx at 7 pm.