Connecticut Sun Head Coach Curt Miller, who guided the team to its first playoff berth in five years, has been named the 2017 WNBA Coach of the Year, the WNBA announced today. He follows Mike Thibault (2006, 2008) as the second Connecticut coach to earn the honor.
Miller received 36 votes from a national panel of 40 sportswriters and broadcasters. Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx finished second with two votes, while Brian Agler of the Los Angeles Sparks and Bill Laimbeer of the New York Liberty tied for third with one vote each.
The Sun, which earned the No. 4 seed in the WNBA Playoffs 2017 presented by Verizon, will host the Phoenix Mercury in a second-round, single-elimination game today at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
In Miller’s second season as head coach, the Sun overcame a 1-5 start to finish with a 21-13 record, its highest win total since recording 25 victories in 2012. Connecticut’s seven-win improvement from 2016 came without 2014 WNBA Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike, who missed the season while recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.
Miller, who is also the Sun’s general manager, led a roster that produced three first-time All-Stars in 2017: forward/center Jonquel Jones, forward Alyssa Thomas and guard Jasmine Thomas.
Jones set WNBA single-season records for rebounding average (11.9), total rebounds (403) and total defensive rebounds (280). Alyssa Thomas posted career highs in scoring (14.8 ppg), rebounding (6.8 rpg) and assists (4.5 apg). Jasmine Thomas set career highs in scoring (14.2 ppg), field goal percentage (42.1) and three-point field goal percentage (40.3).
Under Miller’s direction, the Sun finished second in the league in scoring (86.0 ppg) and rebounding (36.7 rpg). Connecticut also ranked third in offensive rating (105.5 points per 100 possessions) and fourth in defensive rating (100.1 points allowed per 100 possessions).
Miller, who was hired by the Sun in December 2015, went 14-20 in his first season as a WNBA head coach in 2016. Before joining the professional ranks as a Sparks assistant coach in 2015, the 48-year-old went 290-124 (.700) over 13 seasons as the women’s coach at Bowling Green (2001-12) and Indiana (2012-14).
At Bowling Green, Miller was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year six times in 11 seasons. He guided the Falcons to eight regular-season MAC titles and five MAC Tournament championships. Bowling Green made five NCAA Tournament appearances under Miller, and the 2007 team was the first in MAC history to reach the Sweet 16.
Below are the voting results for the 2017 WNBA Coach of the Year award as well as a list of past recipients:
2017 WNBA COACH OF THE YEAR RESULTS
Coach Team Votes
Curt Miller Connecticut Sun 36
Cheryl Reeve Minnesota Lynx 2
Brian Agler Los Angeles Sparks 1
Bill Laimbeer New York Liberty 1