WNBA and NFL veterans round out leadership team; set foundation to build a model WNBA franchise in Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia (October 25, 2021) – The Atlanta Dream today announced two-time WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year Dan Padover will join the team as General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations. Additionally, Interim Head Coach Darius Taylor will move into the role of Assistant General Manager. Padover and Taylor will work closely with the Dream’s ownership, President and Chief Operating Officer Morgan Shaw Parker, and Head Coach Tanisha Wright.
“We set out to create a leadership group with experience building winning teams underpinned by a values-based culture,” said Larry Gottesdiener, Owner and Chairman of the Atlanta Dream. “Dan is one of the most well-respected executives in the WNBA with a track record that speaks for itself. Darius has been an integral part of the Dream organization for four years and has earned the trust and respect of the players and ownership. These hires fill out the leadership team along with Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Abair, and Vice President Renee Montgomery.”
Padover spent the past decade in the WNBA, most recently serving as General Manager of the Las Vegas Aces, who finished with the best record in the WNBA in 2020, and the second-best record in the league (24-8) during the regular season this year. For his efforts and results, Dan was recognized back-to-back as the WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year in 2020 and 2021. Throughout his three-year tenure with the Aces, the team posted an impressive 63-25 record and advanced to the WNBA Finals in 2020. Prior to the Aces, Padover was Vice President of Basketball Operations for the New York Liberty, where he led the team to a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference in 2017.
“To build an organization from the ground up with new ownership and new leadership in a top-ten market like Atlanta is such a unique and exciting opportunity,” said Padover. “My ultimate goal is to help create a model WNBA franchise and bring a championship to the city. Rebuilds don’t happen overnight, but this organization is now uniquely positioned to create a winning culture.”
Taylor joined the Atlanta Dream in 2017 as Assistant Coach before becoming Interim Head Coach this past July. Prior to this role, he was an Assistant Coach under Dawn Staley at the University of South Carolina, helping recruit the class that led the Gamecocks to their first national title. Taylor brings a unique skillset having spent time in all areas of basketball as a player, as a manager of community and player programs in the NBA’s Development League, as an Assistant Director of Competitive Programs with USA Basketball, and as a WNBA Head Coach. His passion for Atlanta sports began when he became a season ticket holder for the Atlanta Dream in 2016 and when his wife, Joni Taylor, became Head Coach of the University of Georgia women’s basketball program in 2015.
“Being a leader in the front office of a WNBA team is something that I have aspired to be, and I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” said Taylor. “To go from a season ticket holder to Head Coach and now Assistant General Manager is truly a full circle moment. I look forward to learning from Dan, a respected leader in the industry, and working closely with him as we rebuild this team and create success. Atlanta deserves that and so do these incredible women who put on a Dream uniform.”
As General Manager, Padover’s initial priority will be to bring in players and staff whose talent and values align with the new Dream organization through draft prospecting and free agency, with the goal of building the infrastructure for a destination franchise that WNBA players will strive to be a part of. Taylor will support Padover in this role while also focusing on player development both on and off the court, recruiting, and scouting.
Padover and Taylor’s hirings follow two other major front office announcements recently: Tanisha Wright as Head Coach and former NFL executive Morgan Shaw Parker as President and COO.
In July, the Dream were named the 2020 ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year to honor the 2020 Dream players’ remarkable work championing social justice, promoting voting rights, and supporting Reverend Warnock in his Senate contest against the former Dream owner, thereby influencing the Georgia Senate election and ultimately the balance of power in the U.S. government.