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Sparks part ways with GM/head coach Derek Fisher

Sportsnaut
Sep 7, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; The WNBA logo on a ball during the fourth quarter of game one of the WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics at KeyArena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Sparks parted ways with head coach and general manager Derek Fisher on Tuesday.

Assistant coach Fred Williams will serve as interim coach for the rest of the season, while the Sparks begin the process of hiring a new general manager.

The Sparks, who signed All-Star center Liz Cambage and were expected to be competitive, are 5-7 to start the season and sit in eighth place out of 12 teams.

Fisher was hired as head coach ahead of the 2019 WNBA season and named GM in December 2020. Fisher’s teams were 54-46 in the regular season and 1-4 in two playoff appearances.

“On behalf of our ownership group, I want to thank Derek for his efforts and contributions to the Sparks franchise,” Los Angeles managing partner Eric Holoman said in a news release. “We wish him the best moving forward. I have full confidence in Fred Williams to step into the role of interim head coach, bringing a wealth of experience leading WNBA teams.”

Multiple reports indicated Fisher had been fired, but the Sparks included a statement from Fisher in which he said it was a mutual decision.

“I want to thank the LA Sparks organization, ownership, staff, players, and fans for the opportunity they have afforded me over the last four years as a part of this historic franchise,” Fisher’s statement said. “Their support has allowed me to grow as both a coach and front office executive and I am proud of what we have accomplished.

“The Sparks and I have mutually agreed to part ways as I shift my focus back to pursuing other opportunities and private endeavors. It has been an amazing ride and I wish the entire LA Sparks organization great success moving forward.”

Fisher, who played 18 seasons in the NBA and won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, also coached the New York Knicks from 2014-16 before being fired midway through his second season.

–Field Level Media