NEW YORK, Aug. 28, 2018 – Atlanta Dream Head Coach Nicki Collen, who guided the team to the No. 2 seed in the 2018 WNBA Playoffs, has been named the WNBA Coach of the Year, the WNBA announced today.  She becomes the second Atlanta coach to earn the honor, joining Marynell Meadors (2009).

Collen received 37 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters.  Dan Hughes of the Seattle Storm and Mike Thibault of the Washington Mystics tied for second with one vote each.

In Collen’s first season as a head coach at any level, the Dream won 15 of its final 17 games to finish with a 23-11 record – an 11-game improvement over last season’s 12-22 mark.  The 23 victories are the most in franchise history, surpassing the previous mark of 20 set in 2011 (20-14).  The season-ending 15-2 surge featured a team-record eight-game winning streak.

The Dream will host the Mystics in Game 2 of a best-of-five Semifinals series tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Under Collen, Atlanta ranked among the league leaders in several defensive categories.  The Dream led the WNBA in defensive rating, allowing 97.1 points per 100 possessions, and blocked a league-high 5.29 shots per game.  Atlanta also held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage (42.3) and the second-lowest three-point field goal percentage (32.1).

Dream players flourished under Collen’s direction.  Guard Tiffany Hayes set career highs in scoring (17.2 ppg) and assists (2.7 apg) and was named the WNBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month for July.  Forward Jessica Breland registered career bests for rebounds (7.9 rpg) and blocks (1.91 bpg).  Guard Renee Montgomery (10.3 ppg) posted her highest scoring average in six years.

Collen, who was hired by the Dream in October 2017, spent the prior two WNBA seasons with the Connecticut Sun as an assistant to Head Coach Curt Miller.  In 2017, the Sun improved by seven games over 2016, going 21-13 and reaching the playoffs for the first time in five seasons as Miller earned the WNBA Coach of the Year honor.

Before joining the Sun, Collen spent nine seasons as a college assistant coach with stints at Colorado State, Ball State, Louisville, Arkansas and Florida Gulf Coast.

As a player at Purdue, Collen was a member of Big Ten championship teams that advanced to the Final Four in 1994 and the Elite Eight in 1995.  Collen transferred to Marquette as a junior, competing in two more NCAA Tournaments while also earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.  She then played one year of professional basketball with BCM Alexandros in Greece.

Below are the voting results for the 2018 WNBA Coach of the Year Award as well as a list of past recipients.


Coach                               Team                                          Votes

Nicki Collen                     Atlanta Dream                                          37

Dan Hughes                      Seattle Storm                                          1

Mike Thibault                   Washington Mystics                                          1



2018          Nicki Collen                           Atlanta Dream

2017          Curt Miller                  Connecticut Sun

2016          Cheryl Reeve                  Minnesota Lynx

2015          Bill Laimbeer                          New York Liberty

2014          Sandy Brondello                     Phoenix Mercury

2013          Mike Thibault                  Washington Mystics

2012          Carol Ross                               Los Angeles Sparks

2011          Cheryl Reeve                  Minnesota Lynx

2010          Brian Agler                             Seattle Storm

2009          Marynell Meadors                  Atlanta Dream

2008          Mike Thibault                  Connecticut Sun

2007          Dan Hughes                            San Antonio Silver Stars

2006          Mike Thibault                  Connecticut Sun              

2005          John Whisenant                  Sacramento Monarchs

2004          Suzie McConnell-Serio                  Minnesota Lynx

2003          Bill Laimbeer                          Detroit Shock

2002          Marianne Stanley                  Washington Mystics

2001          Dan Hughes                  Cleveland Rockers

2000          Michael Cooper                      Los Angeles Sparks

1999          Van Chancellor                       Houston Comets

1998          Van Chancellor                       Houston Comets

1997          Van Chancellor                       Houston Comets

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