The Atlanta Dream's chaotic season continued Saturday night when interim coach Mike Petersen announced that he would be stepping down because of health reasons. Petersen will transition into a role in the front office, and assistant coach Darius Taylor will take over as interim head coach, the team said.
"For health reasons that the grind of the WNBA season will not allow me to adequately address, I have decided to step down from my coaching duties with the Dream," Petersen said. "I want to thank the Atlanta Dream players, staff and ownership for the opportunity to be part of an amazing organization."
"It has been a pleasure working with and getting to know Coach Mike," Dream majority owner Larry Gottesdiener said. "We appreciate his willingness to step up and take on the role of head coach this season and everything he has done for the team. His experience and leadership will continue to be a benefit to the organization as he transitions to his new role."
First and foremost, the most important thing is Petersen's health. This could not have been an easy decision, but hopefully the change will allow him to live a happier and healthier life.
As for the Dream, it's the latest event in a season that has not gone to plan. Petersen, who had been with the team since 2018, was only acting as interim head coach because Nicki Collen left out of nowhere during the middle of training camp to become the head coach of Baylor's women's basketball team.
In addition to the coaching problems, the team has also been hit hard by injuries. Chennedy Carter missed nearly a month due to an elbow injury, while Tiffany Hayes went down with a knee injury in June that will keep her out until after the Olympic break. Plus, key free agent signing Cheyenne Parker missed the first six games due to COVID-19, and will not play the rest of the season after announcing her pregnancy.
There's also been some other drama off the court. Carter, the team's star second-year guard, was suspended until further notice earlier this month due to conduct detrimental to the team, and missed the team's final two games before the Olympic break. At this point it's not clear when she will return to action.
As you can probably guess, things haven't gone well on the court as a result of all the aforementioned items. The Dream are 6-13, and tied for 10th in the standings. As things stand, they're on pace to miss the playoffs for the third straight season, and fourth time in the last five seasons.