After firing their former head coach Igor Kokoskov, the Phoenix Suns started their search to replace him. On Friday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Suns and Monty Williams agreed to a five-year deal to become their new head coach. Williams will begin his duties as head coach once the Philadelphia 76ers’ season is over as he is currently with them as an assistant coach.
Before joining the coaching ranks, Williams played college ball at Notre Dame and then spent nine years in the NBA primarily as a reserve on five different teams. He joined the Sixers this season but Williams also spent the better part of the last four years with the San Antonio Spurs front office and on the Oklahoma City Thunder staff as their associate head coach following his firing from the New Orleans Pelicans after the 2015 season. Williams also faced personal tragedy in his time away from being a head coach when he lost his wife to a tragic accident in 2016.
The Suns dropped a press release welcoming Williams to the organization. Suns General Manager James Jones talked about the experience that Williams brings to the team as a coach and a former NBA player.
“I am thrilled to welcome Monty Williams to the Suns family as our next head coach. Monty brings a wealth of NBA experience, both as a coach and former player, in addition to being a high-character individual who will infuse basketball wisdom and life lessons into our locker room. Monty is well respected for his coaching pedigree, leadership and commitment to the community, all of which make him the ideal person to lead our team moving forward.”
Sixers’ coach Brett Brown also released a statement to congratulate Williams and talked about the abilities that make the hiring a great decision.
“We congratulate Monty Williams, who will join the Phoenix Suns as head coach following the 2019 Playoffs. Monty’s ability to connect with players and develop youth, combined with his human qualities and integrity, make this appointment a natural fit. The Phoenix Suns will be getting a committed basketball coach, who will be persistent, instilling a culture that has championship habits. He and his family will be missed, and we are all very appreciative of the time that he spent with us. I have known Monty for over 15 years, and I am extremely confident that we all will watch the Phoenix Suns’ program grow during his tenure.”
One interesting wrinkle in this whole situation is Suns owner Robert Sarver. Since he bought the team in 2004, Sarver has almost always been in the background of some major Suns decisions. Some have been good but others have been horrible and the recent run of hirings and firings in Phoenix has brought to light Sarver’s impact on the franchise.
But according to Shams Charania of Stadium, the hands-on owner told his new coach that he was starting to learn from his mistakes and wants to change things going forward with his team.
“Sarver started to admit some of the past mistakes of his franchise…”
— Stadium (@Stadium) May 3, 2019