Layden Wins Debut as Starzz Coach
Frank Layden, a former NBA coach of the year with the Utah Jazz, wasted no time making an impact Monday as the new coach of the Utah Starzz, the Jazz’s WNBA counterpart.
After being named to replace Denise Taylor earlier in the day, Layden coached the Starzz (7-13) to a 90-80 victory over the Phoenix Mercury before a raucous crowd of 8,624 that gave him a standing ovation during pregame introductions.
“There’s been a void in my life since I left coaching,” said Layden, who stepped down from the Jazz in November 1988 after parts of eight seasons as coach. “I miss the competitive spirit.”
Layden will retain his position as president of the Jazz, but he stressed that his new job was not temporary. “This is not an interim position,” he said. Layden, 66, has never coached women’s basketball, but he has been the color commentator on Starzz television broadcasts this season. He retained Fred Williams, Taylor’s assistant and a former coach of the USC women’s team, as his associate coach. The Starzz had been 13-34 over two seasons under Taylor.
The Starzz took an 14-point midway through the second half against Phoenix (12-7), whose coach, Cheryl Miller, was ejected with 13:11 left in the game after two quick technicals.