Former San Antonio Spurs’ player Monty Williams has officially been replaced on the Oklahoma City Thunder coaching staff with Adrian Griffin.
Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting that Billy Donovan is going to name Griffin as the newest member of his team of assistants.
Donovan had previously said that Williams would not be returning to the Thunder for next season due to personal reasons.
Williams has been mourning the loss of his wife Ingrid, who died in a car accident this past February.
Williams is supposed to work as an assistant coach on Mike Krzyzewski’s staff later this summer for the Summer Olympics in Rio, and it’s not yet known if he’ll continue with that role in light of the tragedy he and his family have faced.
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Williams has deep ties with the Spurs franchise. He donned their uniform as a player from 1996-1998, establishing himself as a solid bench option at small forward.
In 2005, he won a championship with the Spurs as a coaching intern on Gregg Popovich’s staff. He used that experience to begin a successful coaching career elsewhere, eventually becoming the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans from 2010-2015.
Few men in the NBA possess the character and integrity that Williams has. I’ve long admired Williams as a human being. His knowledge of basketball is secondary to his leadership and empathy.
When he was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, the support he and Ingrid gave to Ryan Anderson after the suicide of his girlfriend Gia Allemand demonstrated the type of exemplary people they are.
Above just attempting to win basketball games, a coach should be a mentor and friend to the players he guides to be better men.
Williams sets a distinguished example of what it means to be a great coach. Winning percentage doesn’t matter as much as a commitment to enriching the lives of those around you.
Williams should take solace in the fact that the entire NBA community has him in their thoughts.
There is more to life than just winning or losing a basketball game. Williams should be commended for his moral virtuousness, and the empathetic nature for which he cares for those around him.
In this trying time, we wish Williams the very best. He’s a fantastic person, and we applaud his devotion to helping those around him. We hope to see you back in the NBA soon, Monty.