Brian Agler introduced as new coach of Dallas Wings

Photo Credit -- AP/Tony Gonzalez

After former Los Angeles Sparks head coach Brian Agler’s sudden departure from Southern California, the lightbulbs of the WNBA community lit up with speculation he could be a candidate for the W’s other vacant coaching spot.

When reports came out that Agler was interviewing for the Dallas job, it was all but given he would find (lime) greener pastures in Texas.

What everyone knew would likely happen came to pass on Tuesday when Agler was indeed introduced as the next Wings head coach.

Agler takes over a Wings team that barely made the playoffs last season and encountered a late-season losing streak that nearly cost Dallas one of the eight playoff berths.

He attended his introductory press conference with Wings CEO Greg Bibb, who was involved in a much-publicized spat with former Dallas coach Fred Williams, which led to him departing from north Texas.

Bibb described the Wings’ find as “thorough and inclusive” and that there were a litany of “talented and qualified” suitors.

But then something happened that my mama taught me a long time ago – better to be lucky than good sometimes.

–Wings CEO Greg Bibb

I quickly learned not only is he uniquely qualified and comes to Dallas with an unmatched resume, but he is the ideal fit for our organization and our roster for where we are today.

For that roster, he stressed that certain things that the Wings may not have done much previously will have to be worked on in practice.

We have certain things we want to focus on. We don’t want to give up second shots, we don’t want to let people get to the free throw line, we don’t like to let people get out in transition and score on us. We want to be efficient offensively so our turnovers don’t relate to points for our opponents.

–Brian Agler, new Wings head coach

When Agler spoke, he said he received a text from Williams after landing in Dallas where he congratulated Agler on getting the Wings’ job.

Any and all success that we have moving forward, I just want to recognize him as a class act and a great person – good friend of mine. It’ll be (an) extension of his and Greg’s work that they’ve done up to this point.

–Brian Agler, new Wings head coach

Aside from his remarks with Williams, he mentioned that getting to a point where a team can win a WNBA championship involves a process teams have to go through.

I’ve been impressed when I’ve come to Dallas – when I walk into the arena on game night, especially the last couple of years. There’s a certain energy – definitely a home court advantage. The fans are enthusiastic and very supportive, which are all foundations of home court advantage.

–Brian Agler, new Wings head coach

He believes the Wings have what it takes to get to the next level in terms of personnel and rising interest from area fans.

We’re all in this together, because we’re still in the process of building not just the WNBA but building the Dallas Wings organization. And season ticket sales (are) sort of the lifeblood of any sports organization at the professional level, sort of like recruiting is for college teams.

Next up, he says, in that process will be contacting players and assembling a coaching staff.

That process for me – in regards to our team – is to create an identity and to then create a culture that will cultivate that identity.

–Brian Agler, new Wings head coach

Later in the press conference, he was asked about what he believes some of those championship traits are.

Perseverance. Grit. Resiliency. Persistence. Mental toughness. All champions have those traits.

–Brian Agler, new Wings head coach

Bibb elaborated on Agler’s remarks by mentioning that he was also enamored with the idea of hiring him by giving him credit for cultivating winning cultures across the length of his coaching career.

I’m a big believer in ‘Culture is King.’ Culture outpaces everything else, including skill and talent. You have to have the right culture.

–Greg Bibb, Wings CEO

Also in his remarks from his question and answer session was when he mentioned how his approach to coaching has changed as he has become older.

When I was a younger coach, I looked forward to the games. But then I realized that for us to play well in the games, we had to play well in practice. We had to practice well.

–Brian Agler, new Wings head coach

It was expected that Agler would be asked about the departure from the Sparks given the questions that continue to swirl around its new head coach in Derek Fisher.

I think everybody goes through life – personal life, professional life and you just realize sometimes it’s time. And that was the situation with me.

Also in attendance for the presser – Arlington mayor Jeff Williams.

The Wings are a team with their fair share of question marks – notably involving their two marquee players. Skylar Diggins-Smith will miss at least half of the 2019 season due to her pregnancy and it is still up in the air whether Liz Cambage will return to the W next season.

Agler said that regardless of the presences of both All-Star players, Dallas’ style of play will change. His plan is to talk further about the future with Diggins-Smith after she has her baby and that he also plans to reach out to Cambage, who is currently playing overseas in China.

It was announced as well that Erin Phillips will remain in her role as an assistant coach. Agler says over his coaching career, he takes into consideration hiring former players as well as coaches who were previously let go elsewhere when assembling staffs.

Sometimes, they come back with a certain hunger and a drive that you have to have to be successful in the coaching business.

–Brian Agler, new Wings head coach

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