- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 18, 2004

One thing you can say about the Washington Mystics, they are full of surprises, including their annual coaching carousel ride.

The Mystics caught everybody off guard yesterday when they introduced former Washington Bullets point guard Michael Adams as their seventh coach in as many seasons during a news conference at MCI Center.

Adams, who has three seasons of coaching experience as an NBA assistant, replaces Marianne Stanley, who resigned Jan.21.

“I’m not concerned about whether I’m the seventh casualty or anything like that,” said Adams, who hasn’t coached since the 2001-02 season when he was an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies. “I have no head coaching experience, but how do you get head coaching experience? You only get it when somebody gives you the chance to be a head coach.”

The Mystics, who are coming off a disastrous 9-25 season, bypassed former Cleveland Rockers coach Dan Hughes, who was the 2001 WNBA coach of the year and led the Rockers to the playoffs in three of his four seasons.

Adams becomes the WNBA’s ninth male head coach in the 13-team league. No female coach won a championship in the league’s seven previous seasons. Certain intangibles like loyalty and Adams’ close ties to the Washington area — he lives in Mitchellville — are what sold the Mystics’ braintrust on him.

“He was actually a Mystics season-ticket holder in the first year [1998], and so he knows the game, and he knows our organization,” said Abe Pollin, owner of Washington Sports & Entertainment, the company that oversees the operations of the Mystics and Washington Wizards.

“Having been a former Bullet didn’t hurt his chances, either. We believe in loyalty and when we have somebody that is qualified to lead this team as Michael is, we’re very, very happy to have him onboard,” said Pollin.

Adams, an NBA journeyman, played for Pollin’s Bullets twice, 1986-87 and 1991-94. His career also included stops in Sacramento, Denver and Charlotte. In 1992 as a member of the Bullets, Adams was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. He led the NBA in 3-point field goals during the 1987-88 and 1990-91 seasons.

The 5-foot-10 Adams also made at least one 3-point field goal in 79 consecutive games, placing him second all-time in the NBA’s record books behind Dana Barros’ 89. Adams averaged 14.7 points, 6.7 assists and 2.9 rebounds as a pro.

Adams played collegiately for Maryland coach Gary Williams at Boston College and plans to pattern the Mystics playing style after Williams’ Terps.

“A lot of it will be some of the things that I’ve learned as a player from some of the coaches that I’ve had, going all the way back to Gary Williams as my college coach,” Adams said. “You know how his teams are, they’re all scrappy and they’re up and down the floor. I hope to instill an offense and a system that will have our team running. That’s what I loved to do as a player.”

Adams said he is accepting applications for his staff and emphasized that he will hire a female as one of his top assistants.

The Mystics have tried a number of routes — international, collegiate, and WNBA assistant — to find a coach that can successfully turn the team into a consistent winner. Adams is the first ex-NBA player to coach the Mystics since Darrell Walker’s 14-game stint in 2000 on an interim basis after Nancy Darsch was fired.

“I’m a competitor. I’ve never been handed anything in my life,” said Adams. “I was never drafted in the first round. I just think it’s another challenge in Michael Adams’ career to prove all the doubters wrong when something comes up like this occasion here.”

“I don’t have an ego about what I do — I’ve been cut three times in the NBA before I even made it to the point of playing 11 years. Your competitive juices get flowing and you say, ‘I can do this job.’”

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