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Phoenix Suns Coach Monty Williams on His Christian Faith, Serving His Team, and Forgiving the Driver Who Killed His Wife

07-09-2021
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Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, left, reacts with head coach Monty Williams during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Even though his Phoenix Suns lead 2-0 over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA finals, Suns head coach Monty Williams may tell you his faith in Jesus Christ is the best victory that will lead to the ultimate prize. 

Williams, 49, experienced a family tragedy five years ago when his wife Ingrid passed away after a driver under the influence of methamphetamine, crossed traffic lanes and hit Ingrid's car with three of their children inside.

Just as he was then, the coach remains vocal about his faith and says he views his efforts toward his players as an act of service.

The website churchleaders.com reports that after the Suns defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Finals, Williams was asked how he balances the roles of mentor and taskmaster. 

"The essence of my coaching is to serve," he said at the post-game press conference. "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."

Players have "embraced" that strategy, Williams added. "It's served us well."

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"The essence of my coaching is to serve," he said at the post-game press conference. "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."

Players have "embraced" that strategy, Williams added. "It's served us well."

Last month, the Suns head coach was named coach of the year by the National Basketball Coaches Association, and he finished second in voting for NBA Coach of the Year, according to churchleaders.com

Williams may be remembered for his coaching, but it was the forgiveness he expressed at his wife's funeral in 2016 that garnered the attention of the nation. It didn't take long for the video of his touching eulogy to Ingrid to go viral. 

"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," he said. 

In an interview with CBN, Williams said he wanted to make sure his kids understood forgiveness and wanted others to understand it as well. 

"In my house, we have a sign that says, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'  We cannot serve the Lord if we don't have a heart of forgiveness," he said. 

Two years ago on the Sports Spectrum podcast, Williams discussed how he continued to trust in God as he mourned.

"(God) is good," he said. "He loves me. You go through a time like that and you tend to lose sight of that because you are hurting, but God is good."

Williams has since remarried and said he has "that hope of seeing Ingrid again, which is one of the coolest things about our faith," according to churchleaders.com.  

"To be able to share that with my kids and God using that through us to do whatever he's going to do in the kingdom, that's an awesome thing that I can't lose sight of," the Suns head coach added. 

The Suns play the Bucks in game three of the NBA Finals Sunday at 8:00 PM Eastern on ABC. 

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