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Curt Miller leaves Sun to become Sparks head coach

Curt Miller led the Connecticut Sun to two WNBA Finals as head coach, including this past season. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Sparks are bringing Curt Miller back to the organization as their head coach, the team announced Friday. The official release comes after news that he was finalizing a deal to become the next coach of the Sparks, as first reported by Rachel Galligan of Just Women’s Sports.

Miller, who spent the last seven seasons as the head coach and general manager of the Connecticut Sun, was an assistant for the Sparks in 2015 before he took the Connecticut job. Prior to that, Miller spent 11 years coaching at Bowling Green, and then two at Indiana University.

During his time with Connecticut, Miller coached the team to the WNBA Finals twice — most recently in 2022 against the Las Vegas Aces — and to the semifinals four times. He was named Coach of the Year in 2017 and 2021, but was never able to win a title.

Miller posted a 136-86 all-time record with the Sun during his time at the helm, signing a four-year contract extension in 2021 that was intended to keep him in Connecticut through 2024. He is not expected to hold the GM title with the Sparks, per Galligan.

The Sparks have won three WNBA titles in 2002, 2002 and 2016, but have struggled recently, missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.

The 2022 campaign was particularly challenging, as L.A. parted ways with coach and GM Derek Fisher after 12 games and turned to assistant Fred Williams to take over as interim coach for the remainder of the season. The Sparks finished the season with a 13-23 record and a .361 win percentage, marking the worst season for the franchise since 2007.

Fisher’s time with the Sparks came to an abrupt halt on June 7 after three and a half seasons with the team. In his first season in 2019, L.A. lost to Miller’s Sun in the semifinals. They were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs a year later, again at the hands of the Sun.

More troubling than Los Angeles’ records were the questions about Fisher’s decision-making, as he failed to re-sign two key pieces from the Sparks’ 2016 title team in Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray. Both players went on to win championships with their new squads — Parker with Chicago in 2021, and Gray with Las Vegas in 2022. Fisher also reportedly pushed for the team to sign star center Liz Cambage before the 2022 season, and she agreed to a contract divorce with the Sparks after just 24 games.