Atlanta coach gives back
In her first season as head coach of the Atlanta Dream, Nicki Collen achieved what many considered unachievable: She led the team to its franchise-best record and was named the 2018 WNBA Coach of the Year.
A basketball court may be her natural habitat, but the Chamblee resident is also dedicated to helping make her city a better place to live. In 2019, Collen served as grand marshal of Emory Winship Cancer Institute’s Winship Win the Fight 5K, which raised $809,000 to support Emory’s cutting-edge research.
She’s also involved in a laundry list of organizations, particularly the Atlanta Dream 4 Youth Foundation, Girls on the Run, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Hope Through Soap and the Atlanta Humane Society, where she shot a promotional video.
Collen came to the Dream after successful seasons as assistant coach at the Connecticut Sun and prior university teams. She played at both Purdue and Marquette universities, as well as on a professional basketball team in Greece.
Surprisingly, basketball was not her first love. “As a kid, I was into tennis and imagined myself as the next Chris Evert,” she says. “But when we moved from Indiana to Wisconsin, our house had a basketball goal, and I began playing in co-ed leagues. I never looked back.”
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