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HomesportAfter leading Sun to the Finals, Kurt Miller left to coach Sparks

After leading Sun to the Finals, Kurt Miller left to coach Sparks

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After appearing in the WNBA Finals, Curt Miller leaves the Connecticut Sun He will be the next coach of sparksLos Angeles announced Friday.

Miller, a former Sparks assistant coach, has been with the Sun since 2016 and led them to the WNBA Finals in 2019 and 2022, when they lost to Las Vegas Aces. Connecticut had made the playoffs in the past six years of Miller’s seven-year tenure, during which he was 140-86 and won the WNBA Coach of the Year twice (2017, 21).

Miller, who also served as Sun’s general manager, was also named the league’s CEO of the Year in 2017.

Sparks has not announced who will serve as general manager. Sparks sacked coach/GM Derek Fisher in June after 12 games of the 2022 season, and was temporarily replaced as coach by Fred Williams. Sparks finished 13-23 and missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Miller, 54, was a collegiate coach from 1991 to 2014, including as a head coach at Bowling Green and Indiana. He moved to the WNBA as assistant head coach Brian Agler in Los Angeles in 2015 before taking over as Connecticut the following year.

“I loved my introduction to the league in 2015,” Miller told ESPN on Friday. “Los Angeles holds a special place in my heart, and I’ve always said that if I had an opportunity at some point in my career to lead this famous franchise, it would be hard to miss.”

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Miller said it was “bittersweet” to leave the sun, who will join Dallas Suites And the Indiana fever In search of a new coach.

“It’s a special franchise with a great fan base and she has a lot of knowledge of women’s basketball,” Miller said of Connecticut. “But I’m a construction worker, and there’s something really fun about that. And LA in this era now, a fresh start. I think it’s an opportunity with Sparks to get in and retool and rebuild and chase a fourth franchise championship.”

Los Angeles is the last WNBA franchise to win back-to-back titles, in 2001 and 2002. Sparks also won a championship in 2016. However, they missed the playoffs in 2021 and 2022, the first time they were eliminated from the tournament. Postseason in consecutive years since 1997 and 1998, the opening years of the WNBA.

The Sparks has six unrestricted free agents entering 2023, including the star of the franchise Nika Ogomec. She said she hopes to continue her career in Los Angeles, where she was ranked #1 in 2012.

“I think there’s an interesting balance in Los Angeles,” Miller said. “People want to be here. We can have a mix of veterans through free agency along with continuing to develop young talent. And there is no better leader than Nneka in this entire league.”

“I like that he’s the number one player in LA. It’s about the stars in LA I can coach and help these guys, but it’s about them.”

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