Atlanta Dream’s Marynell Meadors Named 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year

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

NEW YORK, Oct. 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.

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).

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.

Atlanta matched its win total from 2008 during a franchise-best four-game win streak from July 22-Aug. 6. The win streak was part of a stretch when Meadors led the team to a 7-1 record, vaulting the Dream into playoff contention.

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
VotesPlayerTeam
30Marynell MeadorsAtlanta Dream
6Lin DunnIndiana Fever
4Corey GainesPhoenix Mercury
1Jen GillomMinnesota Lynx

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR WINNERS
YearPlayerTeam
2009Marynell MeadorsAtlanta Dream
2008Mike ThibaultConnecticut Sun
2007Dan HughesSan Antonio Silver Stars
2006Mike ThibaultConnecticut Sun
2005John WhisenantSacramento Monarchs
2004Suzie McConnell SerioMinnesota Lynx
2003Bill LaimbeerDetroit Shock
2002Marianne StanleyWashington Mystics
2001Dan HughesCleveland Rockers
2000Michael CooperLos Angeles Sparks
1999Van ChancellorHouston Comets
1998Van ChancellorHouston Comets
1997Van ChancellorHouston Comets

About the WNBA
The WNBA is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity. Composed of 13 teams, the WNBA is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world. The league concluded its historic 13th regular season with increased attendance for the third consecutive year and increased viewership on ESPN2 for a second straight season. The 2009 WNBA Finals tipped off Sept. 29.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.

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