Atlanta Dream’s Nicki Collen leaving WNBA to coach Baylor after Kim Mulkey’s departure

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    • Atlanta Dream Coach Nicki Collen is leaving the WNBA to take over as head coach of the Baylor women’s basketball team, the school announced Monday.

      She replaces Kim Mulkey, who left last week to become a coach at LSU. Current Atlanta assistant Mike Petersen takes over as interim head coach for the Dream, which begins its season May 14.

      “nicki is a passionate leader of young women and an elite basketball mind and master of the game,” baylor athletic director mack rhoades said in a statement. “It’s a great mission that shares our vision of preparing champions.” for life commanding excellence both on and off the court. nicki’s professional experience will be invaluable in developing players to the next level. Her addition supports our commitment to the women’s basketball program at the highest level.”

      • baylor transfer gustars follows mulkey to lsu

      • Atlanta Dream's Nicki Collen leaving WNBA to coach Baylor after Kim Mulkey's departure

        Mulkey’s 8-year LSU deal worth at least $22.5M

        collen became the dream head coach before the 2018 season and went 38-52 in his three years with atlanta. His best season was his first, when the Dream finished 23-11 in 2018 and advanced to the WNBA semifinals.

        Before her time with the dream, Collen was an assistant for two WNBA seasons with the Connecticut Sun.

        collen, who turns 46 on may 13, was a college assistant before moving to the wnba, working on the florida gulf coast, arkansas, louisville, ball state and colorado state. she worked with her husband tom collen in arkansas, louisville and colorado state when he was head coach at those schools. She played at the college level at Purdue and Marquette.

        “i am thrilled to be the head coach at baylor university. i think it’s the best job in the country for women’s basketball,” collen said. “i am excited to begin working with this extremely talented team and am grateful for the unwavering support of president [linda] livingstone and mack rhoades. the success of this program speaks for itself and i will begin working today to ensure that the women of baylor basketball continues to be a program that excels at the highest levels.”

        nalyssa smith, rising baylor senior, 2021 wade trophy winner and no. 1 on’s list of her top 25 players for the upcoming season, she tweeted in response to Collen’s hiring: “Time to get to work!”

        It’s time to get to work! 💫💫💫

        Collen is scheduled to address the media on Wednesday.

        the dream went 7-15 last year during the wnba season in the bubble in bradenton, florida. It was a challenging time for Atlanta, with players at loggerheads with the then dream co-owner and U.S. sen. Kelly Loeffler on various topics, including his comments on the WNBA’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

        wnba players backed loeffler’s opponent at the u.s. from georgia contender for the senate, raphael warnock, who won in a runoff election on jan. 5.

        In February, the dream franchise was sold to a three-member group led by real estate investor Larry Gottesdiener, now the majority owner of the team. Suzanne Abair, president of Northland Investment Corp., and former WNBA player Renee Montgomery are the other two investors.

        on april 21, the dream fired president and general manager chris sienko, with the move coming just six days after the wnba draft.

        dream center kalani brown, a baylor alumnus who was a key part of the lady bears starting team in 2019, reacted to monday’s news on twitter: “I’m going to get blown up…plz I’m just as surprised as everyone.”

        you’re going to blow me up… please, I’m as surprised as you are 😩🤷🏾‍♀️

        Petersen joined the Dream staff shortly after Collen was hired in late 2017. Previously, he was a head and assistant coach at the varsity level for many years for men’s and women’s basketball. That included eight seasons leading the Wake Forest women’s show. She has also been a head coach for the Gonzaga, New Mexico State, TCU, and North Texas women’s programs, as well as an assistant for the Oregon women’s team and the Minnesota men’s team.

        “We are grateful to Nicki Collen for her hard work coaching the Dream for the past three years. We wish her every success at Baylor College,” the Dream said in a statement. “At this time, we are delighted to announce the promotion of mike petersen from assistant coach to interim head coach, who will work closely with assistant coach darius taylor. they are invaluable members of the atlanta dream family, and we look forward to their team leadership this season.”

        baylor won three ncaa titles with mulkey (2005, 2012 and 2019) and a combined 23 big 12 titles, between the regular season and the league tournament. Mulkey went 632-104 as Baylor’s head coach from 2000 to 2021.

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