Williams Added as Assistant Coach

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

He broke into the NBA coaching ranks via the San Antonio Spurs, and has since gone on to become one of the most well-liked and respected people in the league, all while working with some of the top names in the sport.

It’s a description that applies to Brett Brown as much as it does his newest hire.

On Friday, Brown formally named Monty Williams to the 76ers’ coaching staff in a move reuniting two former Gregg Popovich disciples.

Acting as an assistant to Brown, Williams will bring to the Sixers another veteran coaching voice, and a sharp perspective shaped by nearly two and a half decades of experience in the league as a player, coach, and executive.

An opening on Brown’s bench became available last month, when Lloyd Pierce, one of Brown’s original assistants, was hired as the Atlanta Hawks’ next head coach. Brown moved swiftly to recruit Williams, who, for the past two seasons, had been serving as Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Spurs.

It was in San Antonio where Brown and Williams first linked up, during the club’s 2004-2005 title run. Brown was a full-time assistant, and Williams, fresh off a solid playing career, an intern for the coaching staff.

“I have known Monty for the better part of 13 years, and he is one of our league’s elite coaching minds,” said Brown, set to enter his sixth season with the Sixers, and the recipient of a recent contract extension. “His character, experience as a head coach, and proven track record developing talent will be an exciting addition to our bench. We are thrilled to welcome him and his family into our growing organization. I really look forward to working with him again.”

In addition to multiple assistant stints in the league, Williams coached New Orleans from 2010 through 2015 .

“I am humbled by the trust that the 76ers have shown me and my family in this new endeavor,” said Williams. “I have had the honor of working with some of the league’s best coaches, players, and staff members from various organizations for a good portion of my life, and I am grateful to the 76ers for providing me with the opportunity to return to the bench.”

Following his season-long internship with the Spurs, Williams quickly landed himself a full-time gig in Portland. Under Nate McMillan, Williams had the chance to help break 2006 no. 2 pick LaMarcus Aldridge into the league. The big man has since gone on to become a multi-time All-Star.

Fast forward to 2010, his first season as New Orleans’ head coach, and Williams was again entrusted with advancing the career of an elite, rising star. That winter, Chris Paul earned his fourth straight All-Star bid, and led the NBA in steals.

Two years later, Anthony Davis fell under Williams’ stead, after the Pelicans picked the Kentucky product first in the draft. While playing for Williams, Davis achieved All-Rookie First-Team honors, his first two All-Star Game nods, his first All-NBA First-Team selection, and his first All-Defensive First-Team nomination.

During his tenure in the Big Easy, Williams guided New Orleans to the Playoffs twice, including 2014-2015, his fifth and final season. He then joined Billy Donovan’s first coaching staff in Oklahoma City in the fall.

In February of 2016, Williams’ wife, Ingrid, passed away suddenly. Showing a gesture of support, Brett Brown and a handful of Sixers employees travelled - in-season - to Oklahoma City to attend the funeral service. 

“Being around the game of basketball has been a blessing, and Coach Brown has been an influential part of my growth as a coach, and person,” said Williams, the father of five. “I look forward to learning from him, and as well as complementing our staff and young core of players as we try to further the awesome traditions of this foundational organization.”

An All-American standout at Notre Dame, Williams, now 46, was chosen 24th overall in the 1994 draft by New York. Over the course of a nine-season career as a forward, Williams averaged 6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 456 games with the Knicks, Spurs, Nuggets, Magic, and, lastly, the Sixers.

Williams inked a free agent deal with the Sixers in July of 2002, and went on to log 31 appearances with the team in the season that followed, including 10 in the Playoffs.

Originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Williams was presented last summer with the first-ever  Sager Strong Award at the NBA Awards show, in recognition of the strength he exhibited in the face of tremendous adversity.

He also boasts coaching experience with the United States Olympic program, winning a gold medal in Rio in 2016, and the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative.