Head Coach, Phoenix Suns
An experienced NBA coach highly respected throughout the league for his coaching pedigree, his leadership, and his commitment to the community, the Phoenix Suns agreed to terms with Monty Williams to become the team’s new head coach on May 3, 2019.
Since taking over as head coach for the Suns, Williams has turned the team into a championship contender. In the 2020-21 NBA Season, Williams Suns to their first playoff appearance since 2009-10 and first winning season since 2013-14. In 2022, Williams was named NBA Coach of the Year after leading Phoenix Suns to the league's best record. He won by a landslide, landing 81 first-place votes and finishing with 458 points overall in balloting by a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. He was the runner-up for the award the year prior.
Williams, 47 (48 on Oct. 8), spent five seasons as head coach of the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans from 2010-2015, leading the team to two postseason appearances. In his first season, the Hornets won 46 games and Williams was the Western Conference Coach of the Month for January 2011 as he led New Orleans’ return to the playoffs after missing them the season before his arrival. Following the departure of All-NBA guard Chris Paul prior to the 2011-12 season, Williams oversaw the growth and development of one of the league’s youngest rosters, increasing the team’s win total in three straight seasons culminating in 45 wins in 2014-15 to lead New Orleans back to the playoffs.
In addition to his tenure as an NBA head coach, Williams served seven seasons as an assistant coach, two seasons in a front-office role, one season as a coaching intern, and nine seasons as a player, giving him over 20 years of NBA experience since first being drafted in 1994. He completed his first season as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018-19, helping the team to a 51-31 record and a berth in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Williams served as associate head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015-16, contributing to the Thunder’s trip to the Western Conference Finals, and spent five seasons as an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers from 2005-2010, a stint that included two playoff appearances. He got his start in coaching as a coaching intern with the San Antonio Spurs for the 2004-05 season when the team won an NBA Championship. Before returning to the bench last season, Williams spent two seasons in the Spurs’ front office as vice president of basketball operations from 2016-2018.
Williams also served as one of three assistant coaches for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team from 2013-2016. As a member of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff, Williams assisted the USA to a perfect overall record of 26-0, including gold-medal finishes at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
Williams was a nine-year NBA veteran as a player, averaging 6.3 points in 456 career games with New York, San Antonio, Denver, Orlando, and Philadelphia. His best season came with the Spurs in 1996-97 when he averaged a career-high 9.0 points plus 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Of the seven head coaches he appeared in a game under throughout his NBA career, six won the NBA Coach of the Year Award at least once at some point in their careers (Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Gregg Popovich, Mike D’Antoni, Doc Rivers, Larry Brown) and three have been enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame (Riley, Nelson, Brown).
Recognized as a revered friend and role model to many in the basketball community and beyond, at the 2017 NBA Awards, Williams was the recipient of the inaugural Sager Strong Award, an honor named for iconic Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager presented annually to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion, and grace.
Active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and many other charities, he has worked with former teammate Charlie Ward in distributing shoes and athletic equipment to impoverished communities in South Africa. In 2011 and 2013, Williams went to South Africa as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.