The Atlanta Dream’s interim Head Coach Mike Petersen has stepped down effective immediately due to health reasons. Petersen will continue to be an advisor to Atlanta’s front office moving forward. Assistant Coach Darius Taylor will step in as interim head coach immediately.
“For health reasons that the grind of the WNBA season will not allow me to adequately address, I have decided to step down from my coaching duties with the Dream,” Petersen said. “I want to thank the Atlanta Dream players, staff, and ownership for the opportunity to be part of an amazing organization.”
Petersen took over the head coaching role a week before the 2021 season began when head coach Nicki Collen suddenly left to coach at Baylor. Unfortunately, it was a rough first half for Petersen and the Dream. Atlanta sits at 6-13, and they have struggled mightily on defense and are one of the worst rebounding teams in the entire league.
Petersen has been coaching for about 40 years and has been on the Dream’s staff since 2017. He is the former coach at North Texas, Wake Forest, Gonzaga, New Mexico State, and TCU.
Before joining the Dream, new interim HC Darius Taylor had coaching experience with Temple and South Carolina women’s basketball under Dawn Staley. In addition, Taylor coached Alaina Coates and A’ ja Wilson, who won back-to-back Freshman of the Year Awards.
Before joining the Dream Staff in 2017, Taylor was also an Advisor for Athlife, an organization specializing in providing career and education services for professional and post-professional athletes.
Taylor played his college basketball at Michigan where he was a Big Ten Academic All-American. Taylor didn’t see much of the court, but earned his BA in sports management and communications. Taylor’s strength lies in player development; hopefully, he can develop some of the Dream’s young players in the second half of the season.
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(Image courtesy of Atlanta Dream twitter)