Head Coach Michael Cooper to Take Short Medical Leave
ATLANTA, July 21, 2014 - The WNBA Atlanta Dream announced today that head coach Michael Cooper has been diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer, and will take a temporary leave of absence from the team.
Cooper will undergo a surgical procedure this week at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta. Typical recovery time for the procedure is two weeks. A full recovery is anticipated following the surgical procedure. During Cooper's absence from the team, assistant coach Karleen Thompson will assume head coaching duties. Per team policy, no further details will be disclosed.
"The doctors and staff at Emory have been tremendous, and I know I'm in good hands," said Cooper. "I'm fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection. I know the team will be in good hands with Coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon."
Cooper has led the Dream to a 15-6 record and a first-place standing in the Eastern Conference in his first season leading the Dream. The two-time WNBA Champion head coach has the Dream in contention for its first Eastern Conference regular-season title in team history, as the team holds a five-game lead with 13 games remaining. He coached the East to a 125-124 overtime victory at the WNBA All-Star game on Saturday.
The three-time Eastern Conference Champion Atlanta Dream is in its seventh season in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The Dream has qualified for the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, including conference titles in 2013, 2011 and 2010. Season tickets and single-game tickets for the 2014 season can be purchased by calling (877) 977-7729 or visiting www.AtlantaDream.net. The next home game is scheduled for Friday, July 25, against the Chicago Sky at 7:30 p.m. The complete 2014 schedule can be found at www.wnba.com/dream/schedule.