Monty Williams is returning to the NBA. Just over eight months after the tragic passing of his wife, the 44-year-old league veteran has joined the San Antonio Spurs’ front office as vice president of basketball operations.
The Spurs announced the news on their official website Friday afternoon.
Williams’ wife of 20 years, Ingrid, passed away on February 9 due to injuries sustained from a horrific automobile accident. The driver of the other car, who also died in the crash, was traveling at 92 miles per hour in a 40-MPH zone when she lost control of her vehicle and crashed into Williams’ own head-on. According to a report obtained by The New Orleans Times-Picayune, an autopsy later revealed that Susannah Donaldson, 52, had methamphetamine in her system.
The death of Ingrid Williams rocked players, coaches, and more throughout the basketball world who had come to know her as a beloved friend and mentor since her husband began his playing career in 1993-94.
Monty Williams took a leave of absence from his post as assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder immediately following his wife’s passing. He joined Billy Donovan’s staff last season after being fired as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season. As his first return to basketball normalcy in the wake of tragedy, Williams served as an assistant coach for the Team USA squad that won Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro last month.
In late July, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that Williams was expected to accept a position with San Antonio for the 2016-17 season. The Spurs, like the Thunder and many other teams across the league, supposedly told the 11-year coaching veteran that he could assume “as much of a role with the organization as he feels comfortable” for the coming season.
Williams began his non-playing career with San Antonio in 2004-05 and spent three seasons with the silver and black as a player during the mid 1990s. In addition to his comfort with the organization, the close proximity of his in-laws no doubt contributed to Williams’ decision to join the Spurs. Ingrid Williams’ parents live in the Alamo City and have been assisting their son-in-law with raising his five children since their daughter’s death.
In an emotional sit down with ESPN’s Hannah Storm over the summer, Williams said he strives to live the way that he and his late wife had for the previous 26 years of their relationship.
“I find myself doing everything that I can that I knew she would do,” he said. “Especially with the kids, because she was the one I could bounce my life off of and she wasn’t afraid to tell me the truth. The reality is we live in a world that’s filled with stuff, and quitting is not an option. It’s just life. You have to be able to get up, face your flaws, and just whatever it is, a step, an inch. You just gotta keep moving forward.”