Officials with the Dallas Wings have announced that Erin Phillips is stepping in as the team’s assistant coach, replacing Bridget Pettis, who has announced her retirement. Fred Williams remains as the Wings’ head coach, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin is the other assistant coach.
Phillips, who is from Australia, now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with her wife, former pro basketball player and North Texas native Tracy Gahan, and their two children.
“I am extremely excited for this opportunity to work with and alongside Fred,” Phillips said in a press statement released by the team this week. “He is an amazing teacher with invaluable knowledge for the game, and it’s a privilege to be able to learn from him day in and day out.
“I can’t thank him and Greg Bibb enough for providing me with this next step in my coaching career,” Phillips added. “The future of this young Dallas Wings team is incredibly bright, and I know the best is yet to come.”
Phillips has played in Australia’s Women’s National Basketball League, for pro teams in Europe and for Australia’s national team, which won medals in the Commonwealth Games, the World Championships and the Olympics. Her first year in the WNBA in the U.S. was 2006, and she has played on two WNBA championship teams.
Phillips joined the Dallas Wings in March 2016. After being waived by the team this past May, she retired as a player and rejoined the Wings organization, this time as director of player and franchise development.
Williams, now entering his ninth season overall as a WNBA head coach, has been head coach of the Wings for the last two years. He has lead the Wings to the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.
Wings President and CEO Greg Bibb said he is excited to have Phillips join the tea’s coaching staff, saying that “her experience and knowledge will be a great asset to our young and talented club.”
Bibb also thanked Pettis for her years with the Wings, and wished her “the best of luck in her future endeavors.” Pettis, who has spent two decades in the WNBA as a player and coach, will return to her adopted home town of Phoenix to focus on several of her businesses while spending more time with her young family.
McWilliams-Franklin, also a two-time WNBA champion, was named an WNBA all-star several times and is among the league’s all-time rebounding leaders. Williams said McWilliams-Franklin will “focus more on scouting, defensive concepts and post player development, while Erin will continue to help us with guard play, player development and scouting.”
He added, “I’m really excited Taj and Erin will continue helping us develop our young team. They are experienced coaches that have won championships in our league as players and are now looking to pursue championships as coaches. They are the right fit for our organization, and tremendous leaders in the basketball community. I look forward to having them help us towards a winning season.”
The Wings, in their second year in Dallas, finished ther 2017 season with a 16-18 record. They made it to the playoffs, but lost in the first round to the Washington Mystics.
The Wings start the 2018 season next April, returning a core group of players that includes 2017 WNBA Rookie of the Year Allisha Gray, three-time all-star guard and 2017 All-WNBA First Team member Skylar Diggins-Smith, and 2016 and 2017 All-WNBA Rookie Team members Aerial Powers and Kaela Davis.
— Tammye Nash