The Los Angeles Sparks have fired head coach and general manager Derek Fisher and named assistant Fred Williams as his interim replacement on the bench.
Signed before the 2019 season, Fisher went 54-46 overall with the Sparks. The organization said it will begin the search for a new general manager immediately.
“On behalf of our ownership group, I want to thank Derek for his efforts and contributions to the Sparks franchise,” managing partner Eric Holoman said in a statement. “We wish him the best in the future. I have every confidence in Fred Williams to step into the role of interim head coach, bringing a wealth of experience leading WNBA teams.”
The Sparks were hoping to bounce back from a 12-20 campaign last season in which they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Despite bringing in the four-time All-Star Liz Cambage Already Chennedy Carterthe fourth overall pick in the 2020 draft this offseason, the Angels are 5-7 and eighth in the standings to start this season, a stretch that included a five-game losing streak last month.
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) June 7, 2022
The Sparks have also had an unfavorable schedule, playing only three of their 12 games at home.
Fisher, who won five championships playing with the Los Angeles Lakers and previously coached the New York Knicks, was the only candidate considered to replace former Sparks coach Brian Agler, then-general manager Penny Toler said at the time. . Following Toler’s departure from the organization, Fisher eventually took over as general manager in December 2020.
“I want to thank the LA Sparks organization, owners, staff, players and fans for the opportunity they have given me over the past four years as a part of this storied franchise,” Fisher said in the team’s statement, and He added that he plans to “change my focus again to pursue other opportunities and private projects.”
“Your support has allowed me to grow as a coach and front office executive and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
The three-time champion Sparks, one of only three remaining founding franchises in the WNBA, won a playoff game in Fisher’s three full seasons. While the Sparks last won a WNBA title in 2016, they reached the Finals in 2017, losing to rival Minnesota in five games.
Williams has extensive experience as a WNBA coach, including as head coach of the Utah Starzz (1999-2001), Atlanta Dream (2012-13) and Tulsa Shock/Dallas Wings (2014-18), with whom he coached Cambage.
He was supposed to leave Los Angeles in the middle of the season after taking over as associate head coach at Auburn, but a source told ESPN that he now intends to leave for Auburn after the WNBA season.
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Fisher was fired as coach of Sparks