Nicki Collen ‘a top candidate’ for Atlanta Dream head coaching job

The Atlanta Dream are zeroing in on Connecticut Sun assistant Nicki Collen as the team’s next head coach, two league sources have told The Summitt. Collen has been interviewed and is considered “a top candidate” for the position, one league source said.

Collen is currently on the staff of Curt Miller, who just won the WNBA Coach of the Year honors, and who credited his staff with much of the work that produced a 21-13 record and Connecticut’s first playoff appearance since 2012.

Prior to her tenure in Connecticut, Collen spent time working as an assistant for Karl Smesko at Florida Gulf Coast University, helping lead the Eagles to a pair of 30-win seasons and an NCAA tournament victory, the first in school history.

Collen also served as an assistant coach at Louisville, Arkansas, Ball State and Colorado State. Her work on the sidelines followed a successful playing career first at Purdue, where she reached the Final Four, and then Marquette, where she played in a pair of NCAA tournaments.

Collen would replace Michael Cooper, the longtime head coach of the Dream, who was let go following a 12-22 campaign in 2017. Collen’s would-be next team is missing its lottery pick from that non-playoff campaign, due to a trade with the Chicago Sky.

The talent on the Dream roster, however, is significant, including all stars point guard Layshia Clarendon, shooting guard Tiffany Hayes, post Elizabeth Williams, and the expected return of Olympian Angel McCoughtry.