Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller has been named the 2021 WNBA Coach of the Year, the WNBA announced today. He becomes the sixth coach in the 25-year history of the league to win the award multiple times, joining three-time winners Van Chancellor, Cheryl Reeve and Mike Thibault, and two-time winners Dan Hughes and Bill Laimbeer.
Miller received 41 votes from a national panel of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters. Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx finished second with six votes. Laimbeer of the Las Vegas Aces and Noelle Quinn of the Seattle Storm tied for third with one vote each.
Miller, in his sixth season as a WNBA head coach, guided the Sun to the league's best record (26-6) and the No. 1 seed in the WNBA Playoffs 2021 presented by Google. The Sun tips off its quest for the franchise's first WNBA championship tonight at 8 p.m. ET, hosting the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky (ESPN2) in Game 1 of a Semifinals series.
The Sun's overall winning percentage (.813) in 2021, propelled by a franchise-record 14-game winning streak to close the regular season, is the best mark in franchise history. Connecticut's 14 straight wins from July 9 through August 19 also ranks as the fourth-longest streak in league history. The Sun also led the league in point differential (9.8 ppg).
The 2017 WNBA Coach of the Year and Basketball Executive of the Year, Miller built this year's team around a trio of 2021 WNBA All-Stars in DeWanna Bonner, Brionna Jones and Jonquel Jones. Bonner ranked among the top 16 in the league in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). Brionna Jones posted career highs in scoring (14.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg). Jonquel Jones led the league in rebounding (11.2 rpg) and ranked fourth in scoring (19.4 ppg).
During the first half of the 2021 season, Miller guided the Sun to a 9-1 record in Commissioner's Cup Games against Eastern Conference rivals and a berth in the inaugural Commissioner's Cup Championship Game on Aug. 12 vs. Seattle.
Miller, 52, has led Connecticut to a postseason berth in five straight seasons, including a trip to the 2019 WNBA Finals. Before joining the professional ranks as an assistant with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2015, Miller went 290-124 (.700) over 13 seasons as the women's coach at Bowling Green (2001-12) and Indiana (2012-14).
Below are the voting results for the 2021 WNBA Coach of the Year Award as well as a list of past recipients.
|Curt Miller||Connecticut Sun||41|
|Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx||6|
|Bill Laimbeer||Las Vegas Aces||1|
|Noelle Quinn||Seattle Storm||1|
|1997||Van Chancellor||Houston Comets||18-10|
|1998||Van Chancellor||Houston Comets||27-3|
|1999||Van Chancellor||Houston Comets||26-6|
|2000||Michael Cooper||Los Angeles Sparks||28-4|
|2001||Dan Hughes||Cleveland Rockers||22-10|
|2002||Marianne Stanley||Washington Mystics||17-15|
|2003||Bill Laimbeer||Detroit Shock||25-9|
|2004||Suzie McConnell-Serio||Minnesota Lynx||18-16|
|2005||John Whisenant||Sacramento Monarchs||25-9|
|2006||Mike Thibault||Connecticut Sun||26-8|
|2007||Dan Hughes||San Antonio Silver Stars||20-14|
|2008||Mike Thibault||Connecticut Sun||21-13|
|2009||Marynell Meadors||Atlanta Dream||18-16|
|2010||Brian Agler||Seattle Storm||28-6|
|2011||Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx||27-7|
|2012||Carol Ross||Los Angeles Sparks||24-10|
|2013||Mike Thibault||Washington Mystics||17-17|
|2014||Sandy Brondello||Phoenix Mercury||29-5|
|2015||Bill Laimbeer||New York Liberty||23-11|
|2016||Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx||28-6|
|2017||Curt Miller||Connecticut Sun||21-13|
|2018||Nicki Collen||Atlanta Dream||23-11|
|2019||James Wade||Chicago Sky||20-14|
|2020||Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx||14-8|
|2021||Curt Miller||Connecticut Sun||26-6|