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Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams talks faith, forgiving driver who killed his wife

Monty Williams
Head Coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns looks on against the LA Clippers during the first half in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on June 28, 2021, in Phoenix, Arizona. |

Monty Williams, the head coach of Phoenix Suns, which will play against Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals Game 3 Sunday night, is known for speaking publicly about his faith in Jesus, and recently shared how it enables him to help his players reach their potential and got him through a personal tragedy. 

“The essence of my coaching is to serve,” Williams said at a press conference after his team beat the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Finals, according to Sports Spectrum.

“As a believer in Christ, that’s what I’m here for. And I tell (my players) all the time, if I get on you, I’m not calling you out; I’m calling you up. You have potential, and I have to work my tail off to help you reach that potential,” the 49-year-old coach continued.

Players have “embraced” that strategy and “it’s served us well,” Williams added.

In May, Williams received the Michael H. Goldberg Coach of the Year Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association. 

“I hold the utmost respect and admiration for the coaches in this league, so to be recognized by my peers is an incredible honor. Every coach in our league sacrifices a ton to make their teams and organizations better, so this is unbelievably humbling,” he said in a statement from the NBCA at the time.

“God knocks the ball out of the park and I get to run the bases. It is a blessing and a privilege to be able to coach this team, alongside this staff, for this organization — it is a ‘get to,’ not a ‘got to.’ To our players and staff, I am so grateful for each one of you. I am blessed to work with you all daily. You truly have made me a better man.”

In 2016, Williams lost his wife, Ingrid, in a road accident. A driver under the influence of methamphetamines hit his wife’s car with three of their children inside. Their children survived.

At Ingrid’s funeral, Williams, who was an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder at the time, quoted Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

“In my house, we have a sign that says, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24:15). We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness,” Williams said at the time, according to Church Leaders.

“Psalm 73:1 says God is good. 1 John 4:16 says, God is love. During times like these, it’s easy to forget that … because what we’ve gone through is pretty tough, and it’s hard, and we want an answer. But we don’t always get that answer when we want it. And we can’t lose sight of the fact that God loves us,” he said in his eulogy to Ingrid, according to CBN News. “Everybody is praying for me and my family, which is right. But let us not forget that there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well. And we have no ill will towards that family.”

In an interview on CBN News, Williams shared, “Forgiveness took the focus off of the accident and it really brought me before the Lord because I was really disappointed in how it all went down. I wasn't disappointed in any one, I was really disappointed in the Lord because I know how awesome God is and I know that it could have gone the other way, and I just couldn’t understand that and I still don’t.

"I don’t question God, I don't question His love for me. I don’t like what happened — I don’t like this part of the plan. And I know that God’s going to do more with what happened with us, than He could do in another situation, with or without me. And I want to be a part of it.”

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