Earlier today, Suns guard Devin Booker announced that Monty Williams had won the 2021-22 coach of the year. A formal announcement will be announced later today.
Earlier this year, Ex Sacramento Kings coach Alvin Gentry shared that with Bally Sports’ Brandon ‘Scoop’ Robinson that Monty Williams should have one last season.
“I thought he should have been coach of the year last year. So, with the way they [Phoenix Suns] are playing now and things like that,” said Gentry.
“That has nothing to do because I thought Thibs [Tom Thibodeau] did a great job last year, I just think were that franchise was and where he’s got it right now, he [Monty Williams] should be the favorite for Coach of the Year.”
Williams becomes just the tenth African American head coach to win the Coach of the Year Award with Booker’s announcement. Before Williams won the award, Dwane Casey was the last to do in 2018 and then was fired later that summer by the Toronto Raptors.
The full list of black coaches to win the award are Ray Scott , Don Chaney (1991), Lenny Wilkens (1994), Doc Rivers (2000), Avery Johnson (2006), Sam Mitchell (2007), Byron Scott (2008), Mike Brown (2009), and Dwane Casey (2018), and Monty Williams (2022).
Here an important fact, out of the ten black coaches to win the award there has only been one who was employed with the organization more than three years after he won the award [Lenny Wilkins] who won the COY in 1994 and was fired by the Atlanta Hawks in 2000. Meanwhile, excluding Williams the other nine were let go on averaged two years [with Williams and Wilkens it’s 1.8 years] within winning the award.
Something that former Lakers and Bulls coach Jackson called the Coach of the Year curse. Slam Magazine’s Michael Tillery asked Jackson to expand on his comments after Sam Mitchell was fired. Mitchell was working with the Toronto Raptors during the 2008 season.
“Brian Colangelo was in L.A. He thought he had to go out and watch the team. That caused some suspicions on my part to think something was going on. Sam’s a workman,” said Jackson.
“They’ve called him that in this League for a number of years, and he’s done a good job. I call it the curse of the Coach of the Year (four out of the last five either stepped down or were fired). You see it time and time again with a team that is struggling and rights its wrongs…then a lot is expected. He’ll find another job.”
Jackson added, ” When you change coaches, it’s tough to change 14 players. Moving players around is really difficult. When the breakdown comes in communication then that’s when the problems arise. I sent condolences when Scott Skiles was let go.
He sent me back a letter that said: I’ve never seen a coach who hasn’t fired himself. It’s just usually endemic in the situation and becomes cancerous. I don’t know if I agree with that 100 percent, but it’s coming from another perspective. It’s management’s perspective and I have to weigh that from someone who knows the business from that side.”
Let’s hope Monty Williams is able to stick around a lot longer than two years after winning this prestigious award.