-- Meadors Orchestrated Second-Best Turnaround in WNBA History --

ATLANTA, October 1, 2009— The Atlanta Dream’s Marynell Meadors was named the recipient of the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year Award, the WNBA announced today. Meadors received 30 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Indiana’s Lin Dunn finished second with six votes while Phoenix’s Corey Gaines placed third with four votes.

“There are a lot of great coaches in this league, so for me to receive this award with a second-year franchise is a tremendous honor,” said Coach Meadors. “I did not do this alone. I have a great coaching staff in Carol Ross, Fred Williams and Director of Basketball Operations Sue Panek. It’s a credit to them and to our entire franchise. Everyone got behind us and did what they needed to do to make us successful. I’m accepting this honor really for all of us.

Meadors becomes the first coach to win the award within the franchise’s first two years (excluding Houston) after she engineered a 14-win improvement in 2009 over the Dream’s inaugural season record. The 2008 Dream won four games, the second lowest win total in WNBA history. One year later, Meadors steered Atlanta to an 18-16 record, a second place finish in the Eastern Conference and the franchise’s first playoff berth. The 14-win improvement marks the second largest one-season turnaround in league history (2003 Detroit Shock, 9-23 to 25-9).

“Marynell not only made the offseason moves to put together this talented roster, she brought them together as a team,” said Dream President & COO Bill Bolen. “People forget that this was almost a completely new team of players that had never played together before. After our tough inaugural season, no one expected us to have the success that we did. We are happy that Marynell has received the recognition she deserves for our amazing turnaround.”

Under Meadors, the Dream ranked second in the league in scoring (84.1 ppg), field goal percentage (44.9 percent), steals (9.7 spg) and turnovers forced (17.7 pg) and first in rebounding (37.0 rpg) offensive rebounding (11.9 orpg). A year ago, Atlanta ranked 10th in scoring (74.5 ppg) among WNBA teams and allowed 84.7 points, the second most total in the league. The Dream’s -10.1 point differential ranked last in the league; however, the team boasted a +1.9 point differential this year. Further, Atlanta was the only team to shoot below 40.0 percent in 2008.

With Meadors’ tutelage, Sancho Lyttle and Erika de Souza were both named to their first WNBA All-Star Game. De Souza finished second among league leaders in rebounding (9.1 rpg) while Lyttle ranked fifth (7.5 rpg), making Atlanta the only team with two players among the top five. Lyttle was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for Aug. 17 and rookie Angel McCoughtry was twice named the adidas Rookie of the Month and was named to the adidas All-Rookie Team. The pair was also selected to the 2009 WNBA All-Defensive Team. McCoughtry finished fourth among league leaders in steals (2.2 spg) and led all rookies in steals and scoring (12.8 ppg).

As the Dream head coach and general manager, Meadors overhauled the team’s roster for 2009. Only four players remain from the last year’s opening day roster, including Ivory Latta who was waived and brought back midseason. In the offseason, Meadors traded for the negotiating rights to Chamique Holdsclaw and then convinced her to return to the WNBA. She also signed Michelle Snow, selected Lyttle in the Dispersal Draft and drafted McCoughtry and Shalee Lehning to form a new team core.

Meadors came to Atlanta in 2007 after three years as an assistant with the Washington Mystics where she helped guide the team to a playoff appearance in 2006. Meadors has also been the head coach and general manager of the Charlotte Sting and the director of scouting for the Miami Sol. Prior to her experience in the WNBA, the Tennessee native coached for a combined 26 years at Florida State and Tennessee Tech.

Below are the voting results for 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year Award as well as a list of past recipients:

2009 Coach of the Year Results

  • Marynell Meadors, Atlanta Dream (30)
  • Lin Dunn, Indiana Fever (6)
  • Corey Gaines, Phoenix Mercury (4)
  • Jen Gillom, Minnesota Lynx (1)

    Coach of the Year Winners

  • 2009: Marynell Meadors, Atlanta Dream
  • 2008: Mike Thibault, Connecticut Sun
  • 2007: Dan Hughes, San Antonio Silver Stars
  • 2006: Mike Thibault, Connecticut Sun
  • 2005: John Whisenant, Sacramento Monarchs
  • 2004: Suzie McConnell Serio, Minnesota Lynx
  • 2003: Bill Laimbeer, Detroit Shock
  • 2002: Marianne Stanley, Washington Mystics
  • 2001: Dan Hughes, San Antonio Silver Stars
  • 2000: Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Sparks
  • 1999: Van Chancellor, Houston Comets
  • 1998: Van Chancellor, Houston Comets
  • 1997: Van Chancellor, Houston Comets