Suns coach Monty Williams named coach of the year

Published May 19, 2021, 9:06 AM

by Agence-France-Presse

In this file photo Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of the NBA game against the Golden State Warriors at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 12, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams was named coach of the year by the National Basketball Coaches Association on Tuesday after leading the team back to the playoffs after an 11-year absence.

Williams, who took over at Phoenix two years ago after the franchise slumped to a 19-63 record in 2018-2019, has overseen a renaissance during his tenure, guiding the Suns to a 51-21 record this year.

That left the Suns in second place in the Western Conference regular season standings. They will face either the Golden State Warriors or the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Williams said in a statement he was “overjoyed” to have been named coach of the year by his peers.

“I hold the utmost respect and admiration for the coaches in this league, so to be recognized by my peers is an incredible honor,” Williams said.

“Every coach in our league sacrifices a ton to make their teams and organizations better, so this is unbelievably humbling.

“This award is far bigger than myself and is a result of the work put in everyday by our players, coaching staff, and the entire Suns organization.”

The National Basketball Coaches Association launched its coach of the year award, named in honour of late former executive director Michael H. Goldberg, in 2017.

Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer and Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan were joint winners of the award in 2020.

The NBA will announce its own Coach of the Year award — the Red Auerbach Trophy — during the 2021 NBA Playoffs.