ATLANTA — Former Platteville High School standout Nicki [Taggart] Collen has landed her first big-time head coaching gig in the world of women’s professional basketball.
Collen, a former assistant coach with the Connecticut Sun, was named the new head coach of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream early last wek.
Collen replaces former NBA All-Star Michael Cooper, who was fired on Sept. 5 after his fifth season after the Dream posted a 12–22 mark last season, its worst since 2008.
““I am humbled at the opportunity to become the next head coach of the Atlanta Dream and incredibly proud to be associated with a league that empowers women in such a positive way,” said Collenin a press release on the Atlanta Dream website. “I want to thank owners Mary Brock and Kelly Loeffler, as well as team President Theresa Wenzel for believing in me and what we can accomplish together. I was blown away by their passion and commitment to the Dream and to the city of Atlanta”
Collen most recently finished her second season as an assistant coach with the Connecticut Sun. Under head coach Curt Miller, the Sun compiled an impressive 21–13 record in 2017 and finished with the fourth-best regular season record in the WNBA, earning the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 2012. Collen helped Connecticut, who lost former No. 1 pick Chiney Ogwumike to injury prior to the 2017 season, improve on a 14–20 record in 2016 and helped Miller to earning the 2017 WNBA Coach of the Year award.
Prior to her stint in Connecticut, Collen was an college assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast, Arkansas, Louisville, Ball State and Colorado State.
Collen was a four-year all-conference point guard and three-time all-area pick for the Hillmen. She amassed 1,381 career points and averaged 17 points, 10 assist and five steals per game as a senior to earn co-SWAL I Most Valuable Player honors. She was named second-team all-state as a junior and senior, and was also an academic all-state honoree and a 4.0 student.
Collen earned a scholarship to Purdue University, but transferred after her sophomore season and finished her career at Marquette University in Milwaukee.