Brian Agler resigns as coach of WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks


LOS ANGELES (AP) – Brian Agler, who led the Los Angeles Sparks to the WNBA championship in 2016, has resigned as coach after four years.

The team made the announcement Friday without explanation. Executive vice president and general manager Penny Toler thanked Toler for his contributions and wished him the best.

Agler is the all-time winningest coach in U.S. women’s professional basketball with 315 regular-season wins. He’s the first coach in league history to win titles with two different teams. Agler guided the Seattle Storm to the 2010 WNBA championship.

He had an 85-51 career mark with the Sparks, including 19-15 in the regular season this year before they lost in the second round of the playoffs.

The team says it will start a coaching search immediately.

Agler, 60, was hired as the 12th coach in franchise history on Jan. 5, 2015. In his first season, the team made its league-leading 15th playoff appearance, losing in the first round.

In 2016, the Sparks had a regular-season record of 26-8 and won the franchise’s third championship. Nneka Ogwumike was named league MVP, Candace Parker earned finals MVP honors and Jantel Lavender was the Sixth Woman of the Year.

He was named the 2010 WNBA coach of the year. He spent seven seasons with the Storm with a 136-102 regular-season mark.

In 2017, the Sparks went 26-8 and lost in the WNBA Finals to Minnesota, the team they beat for the title the previous year.

Agler first joined the WNBA as coach and GM of Minnesota from 1999-2002. He had assistant stints with Phoenix and San Antonio. He also coached in the ABL and spent 15 years in the women’s college ranks.

Agler’s son, Bryce, has been the Sparks’ player development coach for the last three years.

The team is owned by an investment group led by Magic Johnson and Mark Walter, owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

FILE – In this Aug. 19, 2018, file photo, Los Angeles Sparks head coach Brian Agler protests a call during play against the Connecticut Sun in the first half of a WNBA basketball game, in Uncasville, Conn. Agler, who led the Sparks to the WNBA championship in 2016, has resigned as coach after four years. The team made the announcement early Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, without explanation.(Sean D. Elliot/The Day via AP, File)