Reports: Wings hire coaching veteran, former Sparks assistant Latricia Trammell as head coach

The Dallas Wings are hiring Latricia Trammell as their next head coach, The Next and Winsidr reported on Tuesday. Trammell spent the last four years as an assistant with the Los Angeles Sparks and has been coaching at the collegiate and WNBA level for three decades.

Trammell will reportedly sign a three-year deal, per The Next. She will take over for Vickie Johnson, who went 32-36 over her two seasons as head coach and parted ways with the franchise in September. Since the franchise moved to Dallas for the 2016 season, it has not kept a coach for three full seasons. Fred Williams was fired deep into the 2018 season and Brian Agler was in town for two seasons.

The hiring follows two-time Coach of the Year Curt Miller's move from the Connecticut Sun to the Sparks last month. Los Angeles and fourth-year head coach Derek Fisher parted ways earlier in the season. The Sun and Indiana Fever each have head coach openings. Winsidr's Rachel Galligan reported Trammell also discussed a head coaching job with each of those franchises.

Trammell brings defensive mindset

Latricia Trammell
Latricia Trammell, left, will reportedly be hired as the Dallas Wings new head coach after four years working as an assistant with the Los Angeles Sparks. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

Trammell, a defensive-minded coach, has been in the coaching carousel for the last few years. She was a candidate for the Phoenix Mercury opening last offseason before they hired Vanessa Nygaard.

The Sparks finished third in defensive rating in each of Trammell's first seasons with the Sparks (2019-20) and second in 2021. Candace Parker won her first Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020 with Trammell as assistant and guard Brittney Sykes finished second in the award voting the following campaign.

Trammell began in the WNBA in 2017 as an assistant with the San Antonio Stars (now the Las Vegas Aces). She has been a head coach with Oklahoma City University, where she won two NAIA Division I national championships in 2014 and 2015. Over three seasons, the team went 85-10. She also was a head coach at Division II Western State University in Colorado.

Dallas wants to take next step

The Wings have stockpiled young talent over the last few drafts, but have had difficulty putting all the pieces together for a stable showing throughout the year. They earned the No. 6 seed in the playoffs with a 18-18 record and lost to the runner-up Sun in an elimination Game 3 in the first round. While they've lifted themselves out of annual lottery pick finishes, they'll need to take the next step to jump into the upper echelon of title contenders.

In 2022, the group improved offensively (ranking fourth), though they couldn't always overcome their ninth-rated defense. Injuries and availability also marred their campaign. Satou Sabally, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, started only six of 36 games due to overseas commitments and in-season injuries. Arike Ogunbowale, one of the players at the supermax starting in 2023, also missed the latter part of the season after undergoing core surgery.

The Wings have four starters under contract for the 2023 season and the second-lowest amount of cap room to work with behind the reigning champion Las Vegas Aces. Starter Marina Mabrey, whose 13.6 ppg were second and 3.7 apg ranked first, and Teaira McCowan, who became a late x-factor in the starting lineup, are both free agents. Free agency opens on Jan. 1.