Dream interim head coach Mike Petersen steps down in latest blow to franchise

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The Atlanta Dream announced on Saturday that interim head coach Mike Petersen is stepping down for "health reasons."

In a statement, Petersen said that continuing to work the WNBA schedule would not allow him to properly address his health, which he didn't expound upon. 

“For health reasons that the grind of the WNBA season will not allow me to adequately address, I have decided to step down from my coaching duties with the Dream,” Petersen's statement reads. “I want to thank the Atlanta Dream players, staff and ownership for the opportunity to be part of an amazing organization.”

Assistant head coach Darius Taylor will take his place. Petersen will remain with the team in a front-office advisory role following a coaching career of nearly 40 years. 

ATLANTA, GA  JUNE 13:  Atlanta interim coach Mike Petersen gestures from the sideline during the WNBA game between the Washington Mystics and the Atlanta Dream on June 13th, 2021 at Gateway Center Arena in College Park, GA. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Mike Peterson cited "health reasons" as the Dream add another tumultuous chapter to their 2021 season. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

More trouble for Dream

The news arrives amid the WNBA's Olympic break and is the latest blow in a Dream season already filled with turmoil. Petersen took over as interim coach after head coach Nicki Collen abruptly left in May to take over for Kim Mulkey at Baylor. Petersen had been an assistant for the Dream since 2018.

Collen's departure followed the April firing of general manager Chris Sienko after the WNBA draft. That decision arrived under the new ownership group led by ex-player Renee Montgomery that took over in February in the aftermath of the tumultuous Kelly Loeffler era

On July 5, the Dream suspended 2020 Rookie of the Year runner-up Chennedy Carter for conduct detrimental to the team. What prompted the suspension isn't clear, but she hasn't played since. 

The Dream are off to a 6-13 start, good for fifth place out of six teams in the Eastern Conference. They'll return to the court on Aug. 15 against the Phoenix Mercury after the Olympic break. 

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