Monty Williams Wins Coach Of The Year Award Amid Stellar Season With Suns
Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams has been named the NBA Coach of the Year for 2021/2022 following his team’s impressive regular season. The Suns topped the Western Conference for a second consecutive campaign, losing only 18 games over the course of the term.
Williams was the last one to find out, as far as the Suns were concerned, with his family and the players coming together for a special ceremony unbeknownst to the 50-year-old. He had no idea what was about to happen when Chris Paul started talking about celebrating achievements after practice on Monday.
“The players knew, my family knew,” Williams said. “As usual, I was the clueless one in the group and found out after everybody else was already aware. It was a pretty cool moment and just grateful to be able to share that with everybody that I work with every single day and a few of my family members. I thought that was priceless.”
Phoenix’s 64-18 record was also the best in the NBA this season and was a franchise record for most wins in a single season. Williams received 81 of the 100 first-place votes, 17 second-place votes, and two third-place votes to snag 458 points.
The Suns are coming off a loss to the Dallas Mavericks that saw their series tied at 2-2 on Sunday night. The affair was especially ugly for Paul, whose family was involved in an incident that resulted in a Mavs fan putting his hands on them.
With the series headed back to Phoenix for Tuesday’s Game 5, Williams will again be presented with the award in front of over 17,000 fans, as the Suns’ Footprint Center is expected to sell out. The Suns are favored to win Game 5 at 2/5 in BetMGM in Arizona mobile app.
Both Paul and Devin Booker tweeted the development before the league announced it on Monday afternoon.
“WD > WS…Congrats Coach Mont on Coach of the Year!” Paul tweeted, while Booker tweeted: “Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has been voted the NBA’s COY, book tells sources. A formal announcement is expected later today.”
Williams is the third Phoenix HC to win the award, following the late Cotton Fitzsimmons and Mike D’Antoni, who won it in 1988/89 and 2004/05 respectively. Williams has won the National Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award in the last two seasons, having coached the Suns for three terms.
“Monty Williams is an outstanding coach with impeccable integrity and character and a great leader of men,” Avery Johnson, who won the award as the Mavericks coach at the end of the 2005/06 season, was quoted as saying. “Well deserving of the 2022 NBA Coach of the Year.”
Williams’ win was a pretty significant one too as the second-place finisher, Memphis Grizzlies HC Taylor Jenkins, got 270 points and 17 first-place votes while Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra came in at third with 72 points and one first-place vote.
Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka received the other first-place vote.
“Shoutout to Monty Williams,” Jenkins said on Monday, ahead of his team’s clash with the Golden State Warriors.
“What a special season the Suns have had. Remarkable what him and his coaching staff are doing. Just want to give him a lot of props on receiving the Coach of the Year award. He’s doing a hell of a job.”
Williams said his wife had been aware he’d won the COY award from last week and had helped organize Monday’s celebration. His eldest daughter, Lael, was in New Orleans with Pelicans coach Willie Green and his wife on Sunday as she works as a merchandising and licensing coordinator for the NBA. But she flew to Phoenix to be with the family for the event.
“They had worked it out,” Williams explained. “Somehow, someway, they told the players and a couple of them knew. So Lisa had coordinated a couple of my girls to fly in.
“And they sent me a picture of her yesterday, and I was like, oh, Lael is in New Orleans,” Williams said. “So when I saw her walk through the doors at the gym, I was like, what are you doing? It caught me off guard and then I realized what was going on.”
His second-oldest daughter, Faith, was with him in Dallas on Sunday but left him none the wiser.
“She just played it off so smoothly,” the former small forward continued. “I had no idea what was going on. So when she walked through the entryway, I was like, ‘you guys.’ That’s when I kind of knew. Then my son, Micah, had (the award) in his hands. To see the players and everybody in that moment, it spoke to the character and the care factor of our team. Everybody on our team cares about everybody.”