It is exceedingly rare to see coaches in professional sports leave for the college ranks for the same job title, but with two weeks left until the start of the WNBA season, that’s exactly what happened with Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen.
Collen, who took over as head coach in Atlanta in 2018, was announced as the new head coach at Baylor after Kim Mulkey left for the LSU job.
Welcome to the Baylor Family Coach @NickiCollen!
— Baylor Lady Bears (@BaylorWBB) May 3, 2021
The news came as a shock to everyone, including to players of the Dream, as Collen has been running Atlanta’s training camp and even met with the media on Monday to talk about the upcoming season.
Ya’ll blowing me up… Please I’m just as shocked as ya’ll 😩🤷🏾♀️
— 𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐈. (@kalanibrown21) May 3, 2021
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) May 1, 2021
Folks from around the WNBA community were stunned by the news and had some very funny responses to Collen just dipping out right before the start of the season.
Less than 2 weeks before the season dawg?!?! 😭 pic.twitter.com/E5OjEfmRnK
— Devereaux *casual fan* Peters (@MsPeters14) May 3, 2021
Everyone picked Nicki Collen to win COY meanwhile Nicki: pic.twitter.com/LgYg42BHjr
— Jas (@JasTayler) May 3, 2021
who is going to coach the atlanta dream
— whitney medworth (@its_whitney) May 3, 2021
The Baylor job is, without a doubt, one of the best in all of college basketball and for Collen it is likely a spot that provides her more job security long-term. Still, it is pretty wild to see someone leave an active head coaching job at the professional level for a college job, and the Dream are left with more questions than answers with less than two weeks until the start of the regular season. We’ll find out soon who they elevate to head coach, but if nothing else this provides a whole new layer of drama to the WNBA season.