Brian Agler resigns as Sparks coach

Brian Agler, who led the Los Angeles Sparks to the WNBA title in 2016, has resigned as head coach after four seasons, the team announced Friday.

Agler said he resigned on Nov. 1, as he was required by contract to give the team 30 days' notice. However, the team didn't officially make the announcement until Friday morning. He is the only coach to have led two different franchises to the WNBA title.

"I just think that sometimes, it's just time," Agler told espnW on Friday. "It's probably best for everybody involved. I really enjoyed my four seasons I was there. The team, they're great players and tremendous people. Strong and good ownership. Really good front office. I can only say positive things.

"Everybody's different. But I think most people want to enjoy life and be able to play to their strengths. That's the type of person I am. I just felt like it's a good time for me, and a fresh start for L.A. as well."

Agler, 60, said he wants to continue coaching. He would be open to the pro or college levels but said that after 20 years in the WNBA, that would be his preference. He said he is also open to going overseas to coach.

The Dallas Wings fired Fred Williams near the end of this past season and elevated assistant Taj McWilliams-Franklin to finish out the year. Agler may be a candidate for the Wings job but said he could not talk to any potential employer until Dec. 1.

"I really love the WNBA," Agler said. "I feel like that's my strength. But we'll see what happens. This was my decision, and I gave it a lot of thought -- over two months of really debating and thinking things through. I'm open to anything, but I'm not overly anxious either."

Agler took the Sparks job in 2015 and led the team to an 85-51 record while making the playoffs in each of his four seasons -- winning the WNBA title in 2016 on Nneka Ogwumike's late putback against the Minnesota Lynx.

The Sparks lost in the conference semifinals to Minnesota in 2015, then faced the Lynx in the WNBA Finals in 2016 and '17.

Los Angeles went 19-15 last season, beating the Lynx in a single-elimination first-round playoff game before losing to Washington in a single-elimination second-round game.

The team said Friday that it would start a coaching search immediately.

Agler spent seven seasons with the Seattle Storm, winning the 2010 league championship while being named WNBA coach of the year. He previously was head coach of the Lynx from 1999 to 2002 and also spent time as an assistant at Phoenix and San Antonio.

The all-time winningest coach in U.S. women's professional basketball, with 315 regular-season wins, Agler also coached the Columbus Quest to the two ABL titles (1997, 1998) in that short-lived league's history. Before that, Agler coached at Kansas State.

Agler was asked what the most important key to success is.

"I think that it doesn't matter if it's pro or college -- if there's a pecking order of what's the most important to have success, you have to have great talent that knows how to play together," said Agler, whose WNBA championship teams were led by season MVPs Lauren Jackson in 2010 and Ogwumike in 2016. "And then you have to create a great culture to bring out the best in everybody -- not just the players, but the coaching staff and front office, too.

"The players at the professional level are very smart and know the game, so they've got to be able to trust and believe in what you're doing. You have to be strong enough, because there are a lot of strong personalities. So there's a balance there you have to have. And then there's the support you get from the front office and ownership. Those are the four things that have to be in place."