After losing in the WNBA finals for the third time in four years, the Atlanta Dream decided to move in a new direction and hire Michael Cooper as their new head coach. In Cooper, the Dream now have a coach not only with experience—five NBA titles and eight All-Defensive Team selections as a player—but also an incredible coaching resume—two WNBA championships a D-League championship. Per the team’s press release:
The WNBA Atlanta Dream today announced that former NBA player and WNBA champion coach Michael Cooper has been named Head Coach. Cooper was a five-time NBA Champion as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers, and led the Los Angeles Sparks to two WNBA titles as the team’s head coach.
Cooper is one of the most successful coaches in WNBA history, ranking second in career winning percentage (.663) and sixth in career victories (167). He is the last WNBA head coach to have led his team to back-to-back league titles, winning the 2001 and 2002 championships in Los Angeles.
Said team owners Mary Brock and Kelly Loeffler: “As we look to take the Atlanta Dream to the next level, Michael Cooper brings a caliber of coaching and leadership that is truly unique. His passion for the game, for the WNBA and his focus on player development will be invaluable. We are excited to build on the success of our franchise for our team, our fans and for the city of Atlanta, and are already working toward an exciting 2014 season.”
“We are thrilled to announce Michael Cooper as our new head coach,” said Dream CEO Ashley Preisinger. “We had an outstanding pool of candidates to consider for the position, and we are excited for Michael to lead our team. He is a proven winner and leader with a track record of success at the highest levels of basketball and we believe he will be a tremendous asset to our team.”
“I’m very honored and pleased to be named the head coach of the Dream,” said Cooper. “It’s a great organization, and the leadership has it headed in the right direction. The team’s appearance in the WNBA Finals shows they are on the right track. They’ve been knocking on the door of a championship, and I know what that felt like in my early years with the Sparks, but now it’s time to kick the door in and make it happen.”