Atlanta Dream Coach Wears Two Hats for 2013 Season

By Hal Lamar Contributing Writer | 5/31/2013, noon

ATLANTA- Atlanta Dream head coach Fred Williams says being on the floor and then in the front office as the team’s general manager presents its separate and distinct challenges.

Williams was named head coach in August of last year toward the end of the 2012 season; replacing ousted coach and GM Marynell Meadows. Not long after that, Williams was promoted to run the team’s day-to-day operations.

“It’s a challenge,” he told the Atlanta Voice during the Dream’s pre-season media day. “I’ve been around it a lot. I’ve seen the way the GM job looks from afar, but now I have my hands on it every day. It’s really just a matter of delegating and scheduling things ahead of time. It’s a little tough, but I’ve got some quality people behind me who have experience.”

Williams is indeed no stranger to coaching women’s basketball. During his 30-year career, the graduate of Boise State has been head coach of two professional hoop organizations and spent 14 years at the collegiate level with the University of Southern California, UC at Irvine. On the college level, Williams excelled before as a recruiter; being credited with lassoing the likes of WNBA and ABL all-star Adrienne Goodson and former Olympian Jennifer Azzi.

Williams says when scouting for talent, he virtually leaves no stone unturned, visiting high schools, semi pro basketball programs and a plethora of colleges including Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“I watch players from a lot of small colleges and those I see with potential, I ask them to go to the free-agent camp at the (NCAA) Final Four so we can gauge them against other talent. We then either invite them in or pick them up in the draft.”

Williams was asked by AV about adjustments he has had to make in coaching an all female team.

“You have to be a bit more patient with things,” he responded. “In my early years, I learned lessons about pushing and pushing them. You do have to hold back some. Other than that, there’s really little difference between coaching the men or women because the ladies want it just as bad as the guys.

“They want to be taught and talked to and coached the same way ( as the men). They can take it. They’re strong women. I’m stern in practice but a little calmer during games. I have my moments when I get them in the huddle and get after them and they know that. But they all have thick skins. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be here.”

“Fred knows the game and the Xs and Os,” says Dream guard Angel McCoughtry, who played with the U.S. Olympic team during last year’s Games in Barcelona. “ The one thing I truly love about Fred is his communications skills .He always talks to me , tells me what he wants once and I go out and do it. He’s a great recruiter and has brought in players nobody may know yet but can contribute to this team. I think one of the things we will have this season is a strong bench.”