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The 2019-20 WNBA season is set to tip-off in Florida later this month, but there will be some noticeable absences around the league. The players themselves had the option to sit out the season if they chose, with several already announcing their intentions to do so.
Also, there will be a couple of coaches missing from the sidelines. Earlier this week, Seattle Storm head coach Dan Hughes announced that he would not be joining the team at IMG Academy later this month due to being at high-risk if he were to contract COVID-19.
The latest coach to announce that he would not be making the trek to Florida is Los Angeles Sparks assistant coach Fred Williams. Williams is 63 years old and would also presumably be at high-risk if he were to contract COVID-19.
In a statement released by the Sparks organization on Friday evening, Williams stated that although he will not be with the team in person, he will continue to help them as best he could from home.
“I truly appreciate the Sparks organization for their understanding in this unprecedented situation,” Williams said. “I look forward to continuing to assist Coach Fisher and the coaching staff remotely as we work towards a WNBA championship.”
A longtime coach in women’s basketball and a Los Angeles native, this was to be Williams's second season with the Sparks. He began his coaching career with the University of Southern California (USC) in 1983, before joining the professional ranks in 1998 as an assistant with the Utah Starzz.
His coaching career also includes stops with the Charlotte Sting, Atlanta Dream, and the Tulsa Shock/Dallas Wings.
In a statement from Sparks head coach Derek Fisher, he said that Williams will continue to be a key part of the team this season albeit being remote.
“Health and safety is the top priority as we all navigate these unusual circumstances,” Fisher said. “While we will miss having Coach Fred in person with the team, he will be a critical part of our success this season. We fully support his decision.”
The organization stated that Williams’ duties working from home will remain relatively the same in terms of scouting, practice and game preparation, and film study.