Print and Go Back ESPN.com: WNBA [Print without images]

Friday, October 18, 2013
Dream, Fred Williams part ways

By Mechelle Voepel
espnW

A week after they were swept by the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA Finals, the Atlanta Dream announced Friday that coach/general manager Fred Williams will not have his contract renewed.

Dream management said in a statement that Williams would move to a consultant's role as the team seeks a new coach and GM. Atlanta did not specify whether it would opt for one person to fill both roles; Williams did that, as did his predecessor, Marynell Meadors.

Fred Williams
The Dream announced Friday that they would not be bringing back coach/general manager Fred Williams.

Williams has been with the Dream since the team launched in 2008 and was coach for 55 games. He had a record of 20-24 in the regular season and 5-6 in the playoffs.

The Dream were 17-17 this season and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. They beat Washington in the first round of the playoffs and then knocked out defending champion Indiana in the conference finals before losing to the Western Conference champion Lynx.

The Dream didn't make the postseason in their inaugural season, going 4-30 in 2008. But Atlanta has been in the playoffs all five years since drafting Angel McCoughtry with the No. 1 overall pick in 2009. That's included three appearances in the WNBA Finals, but Atlanta has lost 3-0 every time.

Williams was an assistant to Meadors until late August 2012, when Meadors was let go after some conflicts involving McCoughtry.

Williams temporarily suspended McCoughtry when he took over, but she was soon reinstated and earned praise from Williams throughout this season. McCoughtry has been the WNBA's scoring-average leader the past two seasons.

Williams has an extensive coaching history that dates back to the early 1980s, when he was an assistant for NCAA women's champion USC. He eventually became coach of the Trojans. He also was a coach in the WNBA for the Utah Starzz before that franchise relocated to San Antonio and was an assistant with the now-defunct Charlotte Sting.

Williams is the second WNBA coach this week to be relieved of his duties. On Tuesday, Tulsa announced it was firing Gary Kloppenburg, who was 20-49 in his two seasons with the Shock.

That franchise relocated from Detroit to Tulsa for the 2010 season and has not made a playoff appearance since. The Shock are 29-107 in Tulsa and finished last in the Western Conference at 11-23 this season.

Kloppenburg spoke to espnW on Thursday and said he is interested in continuing his career in the WNBA. He previously was an assistant for Lin Dunn in Indiana.

"I really like the progress the league has made and where it is right now," Kloppenburg said. "I would like to stay involved and continue moving the league forward. I'd like to keep being a part of that.

"I could see myself in a situation as an assistant or head coach; I am open to either. I've really enjoyed coaching athletes the caliber of WNBA players. There is so much talent in the league, and that did make it difficult to win at Tulsa, especially with the teams we were facing in the West."