Fred Williams won’t return to Sparks, follows through with Auburn job

Sparks interim head coach Fred Williams and assistant coach Latricia Trammell look on ahead of a game against Las Vegas.
Sparks interim head coach Fred Williams and assistant coach Latricia Trammell look on ahead of a game against the Las Vegas Aces on June 11 at Arena.
(Meg Oliphant / Getty Images)

He hoped to stay. Instead, Fred Williams, the Sparks’ interim head coach, will fly south for the winter.

The Sparks announced Williams will follow through on a previously announced position as the associate head coach position at Auburn on Wednesday instead of staying on as the franchise’s full-time head coach. The announcement prompts a national search for the Sparks’ next head coach and general manager.

Williams’ job at Auburn was announced on May 4, 2022 but has been in limbo since he was promoted to interim head coach in June when Derek Fisher was fired. Had he not been tasked with leading the struggling team through the rest of the season, Williams would have started at Auburn in July.


Despite enduring a tumultuous season, team leader Nneka Ogwumike wants to remain with the Sparks and help turn around the franchise in 2023.

Aug. 14, 2022

The L.A. native said after the Sparks’ season-ending loss to Dallas on Sunday he wanted to become the team’s head coach but recognized the options he had between his hometown WNBA team and Auburn.

“I love this city, this is my hometown, being here in L.A., the people, the fans and I love coaching this team,” Williams said. “I love being a part of the Sparks family. … I feel a big part of this, and I know we can be better than what we have done this past season.”

What’s next for the Sparks’ free agents? Katie Lou Samuelson and Chennedy Carter are the only players on protected contracts for next year.

Aug. 15, 2022

The Sparks (13-23) missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year with Williams going 8-16 as the interim head coach. The team finished with nine losses in its last 10 games. Williams, who had WNBA head coaching experience with the Utah Starzz, Atlanta Dream and the Dallas Wings/Tulsa Shock, joined the Sparks as an assistant in 2019, the first season under Fisher.

“The Sparks would like to thank Coach Fred for his leadership and guidance over the past four seasons as both an assistant coach and as Interim Head Coach,” managing partner Eric Holoman said in a statement. “Fred has had an illustrious WNBA coaching career, and we know he will continue to make an impact on women’s basketball at Auburn.”

Liz Cambage apologized Monday on Instagram for leaving the Sparks abruptly amid a playoff run and announced she is stepping away from the WNBA ‘for the time being.’

Aug. 15, 2022