The Los Angeles Sparks will hire former Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams as an assistant coach, multiple sources told SB Nation. Williams has nine years experience as a head coach, and he’s expected to help lead LA’s new head man Derek Fisher in his first WNBA coaching season.
Williams served as head coach for the Dallas Wings last season until he was abruptly fired following an altercation with the franchise’s CEO in the hallway of a game following a loss on the road to the Washington Mystics. The team was tense during a heated push for the league’s final playoff spot, which it eventually earned.
Williams is well-respected by players, who were visibly upset after his firing. He’d been with the Wings since it was known as the Tulsa Shock in 2014, finishing with a 71-96 regular season record in five years, and two postseason appearances.
“I think he really understands me,” the league’s leading scorer Liz Cambage, who returned to the league after a five-year hiatus, told SB Nation following the hallway altercation. “And I think he realizes that there’s more to my life than just basketball. I have a lot of other interests and things that I work on away from the court and he really showed me a lot of support and love since I left in 2013 and he got the job in 2014.”
Williams had two other head coaching stints before his tenure with the Wings/Shock. He served as head coach for the Utah Starzz (now Las Vegas Aces) from 1999-2001, and the Atlanta Dream for one and a half seasons in 2012 and 2013. He finished with a 17-17 record in his first full season in Atlanta, losing in the Finals to the Minnesota Lynx.
Earlier Tuesday morning, the Sparks announced Latricia Trammell, a former San Antonio Stars assistant, as the team’s other assistant coach hire under Fisher.
The Sparks and Wings essentially traded coaches this offseason
Former Sparks head coach Brian Agler surprised the league when he resigned from his position following a down year in LA in November. Agler had won a championship with the Sparks just two years prior, and the team figured to be in that mix in the 2019 season again.
“I just think that sometimes, it’s just time,” Agler told ESPN’s Mechelle Voelpel. “It’s probably best for everybody involved.”
Weeks later, the Sparks announced Fisher as their head coach, and a few weeks after that, Agler replaced the spot vacated by Williams in Dallas. Now Williams will fill a slot left open from Agler’s move.
The Sparks’ assistant coaching hires come during the league’s moratorium, which began on Jan. 15, where free agents are allowed to negotiate with teams but not sign contracts. That limitation is lifted on Feb. 1.