If the Connecticut Sun look to make it back to the WNBA Finals next year, they will have to do so without coach Curt Miller.
Miller, who coached the Sun since 2016 and led the team to two Finals appearances over the past four seasons, is taking over as head coach of the Sparks, Los Angeles announced on Friday.
Miller enjoyed a successful tenure with the Sun as he also served as the organization’s general manager. The Sun turned into a perennial playoff team under Miller, making the postseason for the past six seasons. Miller was twice named WNBA Coach of the Year as well as the league’s Executive of the Year in 2017.
Miller broke into the WNBA as an assistant for the Sparks in 2015, and the 54-year-old longed to rejoin the franchise, making him jump at this chance.
“I loved my introduction to the league in 2015,” Miller told ESPN on Friday. “L.A. holds a special place in my heart, and I always said if I had an opportunity at some point in my career to lead this iconic franchise, it would be hard to pass up.”
Miller takes over a Sparks team that failed to make the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, something the organization hasn’t done since the late 1990s. The seasoned coach called the decision to move on from the Sun “bittersweet,” according to ESPN, but he’s looking forward to putting his fingerprint all over the Sparks.
“It’s a special franchise with an incredible fan base with so much knowledge of women’s basketball,” Miller said of the Sun, per ESPN. “But I’m a builder, and there’s just something so fun about that. And L.A. is in this era right now, a new beginning. I think it’s an opportunity with the Sparks to come in and retool and rebuild it and chase a fourth championship for the franchise.”
The Sun will now be in search of their sixth head coach in the franchise’s history.