In what could be a precursor to a major shift in the WNBA coaching landscape, Atlanta Dream head coach and general manager Nicki Collen will be leaving the Dream after the team’s season to become the new head coach for Baylor, according to USA Today Sports. Collen’s departure will leave the Dream in search of a new coach, as well as a new GM.
7:14 P.M. EASTERN TIME.
Mechelle Wopel beats the WNBA, women’s college basketball and other college sports for espnW. Fopel began covering women’s basketball in 1984 and joined ESPN in 1996.
Atlanta Dream coach Nicky Collen is leaving the WNBA to become coach of the Baylor women’s basketball team, the school announced Monday.
She will replace Kim Mulkey, who left last week to become coach of LSU. Current Atlanta assistant Mike Petersen has been named interim head coach of the Dreams, and will begin the season on the 14th. The month of May is about to begin.
Nicky is a passionate leader of young women, a basketball expert and a teacher of the game, Baylor athletic director Mac Rhoades said in a statement. She fits her role perfectly and shares our vision to prepare champions for life through excellence on and off the field. Nicky’s professional experience will be invaluable in developing players to the next level. Your presence affirms our commitment to the women’s basketball program at the highest level.
Collen became head coach of the Dreams prior to the 2018 season and posted a 38-52 record in his three years in Atlanta. His best season was his first, when Dream went 23-11 in 2018 and reached the WNBA semifinals.
Before working at the Dream Collen, she was an assistant at the Connecticut Sun for two WNBA seasons.
Collen, who died on the 13th. May, 46, was a college assistant before going to the WNBA. She has worked at Florida Gulf Coast, Arkansas, Louisville, Ball State and Colorado State. She and her husband, Tom Collen, worked at Arkansas, Louisville and Colorado State when he was head coach there. In college, she played at Purdue and Marquette.
I am very excited to be the head coach at Baylor University. I think it’s the best position in the country for women’s basketball, Collen said. I am very excited to work with this extremely talented team and am grateful for the continued support of President (Linda) Livingston and Mack Rhoades. The success of this program speaks for itself, and I’m going to work today to ensure that Baylor women’s basketball remains a program that continues to deliver top performance.
Baylor senior Nalissa Smith, the 2021 Wade Trophy winner and No. 1 on ESPN.com’s Top 25 list for next season, tweeted in response to Collen’s assumption: It’s time to get to work!
It’s time to get to work! https://t.co/5Ag0UmNYKh
– #1 (@NaLyssaSmith) May 3, 2021
Collen plans to address the media on Tuesday.
Last year, in the WNBA season on the bubble in Bradenton, Florida, the Dream went 7-15. It was a difficult time for Atlanta, as the players disagreed with then-Dream co-owner and U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler on many issues, including her comments in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the WNBA.
The WNBA players backed Loeffler’s opponent in the Georgia U.S. Senate race, Rafael Warnock, who is due to play a second round game on the 5th. January 2021 won.
In February, the Dream franchise was sold to a group of three led by real estate investor Larry Gottesdiner, who is now the majority owner of the team. Suzanne Abaire, president of Northland Investment Corp. and former WNBA player Renee Montgomery are the other two investors.
On the 21st. In April, the Dream fired president and general manager Chris Sienko just six days after the WNBA draft.
Dream center Kalani Brown, a Baylor graduate who was a key part of the Lady Bears’ 2019 title team, reacted to Monday’s news on Twitter: You’re gonna blow me up… Please, I’m as shocked as you are.
You got me. Please, I’m just as shocked as you are ♀️.
– . (@kalanibrown21) 3. May 2021
Petersen joined the Dream staff shortly after Collen was hired in late 2017. Prior to that, he spent many years as a head and assistant coach at the collegiate level in both men’s and women’s basketball. He led Wake Forest’s women’s program for eight seasons. He has also served as head coach of the Gonzaga, New Mexico State, TCU and North Texas women’s teams, and as an assistant coach of the Oregon women’s team and the Minnesota men’s team.
We are grateful to Nicky Collen for his hard work as Dream coach for the past three years. We wish him well at Baylor University, Dream said in a statement. We are now pleased to announce the promotion of Mike Petersen from Assistant Coach to Interim Head Coach, who will work closely with Assistant Coach Darius Taylor. They are invaluable to the Atlanta Dream family and we look forward to them leading the team this season.
Under Mulkey, he has won three NCAA titles (2005, 2012 and 2019) and a total of 23 Big 12 regular season and league tournament titles. Mulkey was the head coach of Baylor 632-104 from 2000-2021.
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