Dallas Wings and coach Brian Agler agree to part ways after two WNBA seasons

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Updated: October 14, 2020



4:41 PM ET

Mechelle VoepelESPN.com

CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

The WNBA’s Dallas Wings announced Wednesday that the franchise and coach Brian Agler are mutually parting ways after two seasons.

Agler was hired in December 2018. The Wings were 8-14 this season — which was 22 games in the WNBA bubble in Bradenton, Florida — and finished in ninth place, one spot out of the playoffs. Dallas was 10-24 and finished 10th in 2019, also missing the postseason.

“We appreciate Brian’s contributions to the Dallas Wings over the last two years,” Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb said in a statement. “As we look to the future, we believe our team is talented and well-positioned for success. After discussions with Brian, we have elected to go in different directions.

“We are thankful for Brian’s work, dedication to the community and his belief in our dynamic team. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

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Agler previously was a head coach in the WNBA for Minnesota (1999-2002), Seattle (2008-2014) and Los Angeles (2015-18). He was also an assistant coach in the WNBA for Phoenix (2004) and San Antonio (2005-09). He won WNBA titles with Seattle in 2010 and with Los Angeles in 2016.

The Wings were the WNBA’s youngest team by average age this season, including three rookies — No. 2 pick Satou Sabally, No. 5 Bella Alarie and No. 7 Tyasha Harris. The Wings were eliminated from the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. Sabally, Dallas’ second-leading scorer and top rebounder, missed six games due to injury, while fellow post player Isabelle Harrison was limited to 13 games and guard Moriah Jefferson to nine because of injuries.

Dallas guard Arike Ogunbowale, the 2019 runner-up for Rookie of the Year, led the WNBA in scoring this season at 22.8 PPG.

“We had different philosophies on how to get where we all wanted to go,” Agler said of he and the Wings organization. “When that’s the case, it’s best for everyone involved to part ways. I wish Dallas nothing but the best in the future.”

The Wings franchise moved to Dallas from Tulsa before the 2016 season, and has made the playoffs twice, in 2017 and ’18, losing in the first round both times. Fred Williams coached the team, known then as the Shock, for its last two years in Tulsa and then its first two years in Dallas. Late in Williams’ third season, he and Bibb had an altercation in August 2018, leading to Williams being let go as coach.

Former WNBA player Taj McWilliams-Franklin finished the 2018 season as the Wings’ interim head coach, and then Agler was hired.

The Wings have traded two prominent players before the past two seasons, dealing center Liz Cambage to Las Vegas in May 2019 and guard Skylar Diggins-Smith to Phoenix in February 2020.

“We believe our team’s youth, tenacity and talent provide us with the competitive edge to attract the right fit for our club,” Bibb said of seeking Agler’s replacement, “and someone who will lead our continued growth as we pursue a WNBA championship.”



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