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Frank Layden Quits As Starzz Coach

June 21, 1999 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Frank Layden resigned as coach of the WNBA’s Utah Starzz today because he is feeling old and wants to enjoy life.

``I’m at the stage in my life that ... when you buy a pair of socks you know they’re going to last the rest of your life,″ he said.

Layden, the 67-year-old president and former coach and general manager of the Utah Jazz, quit less than a year after taking the job.

He was 2-2 with the WNBA club this season and will be replaced by assistant Fred Williams.

Layden will remain the Utah Jazz president and will do commentary on Jazz and Starzz broadcasts.

``I was getting tired. Time is a precious commodity right now,″ Layden said. ``I think this is all I can do. I’ve given it all I’ve got.″

Layden had never coached women’s basketball when he took over the team July 27, 1998, replacing Denise Taylor. He won only two of 11 games last season. This year, the team was revamped and beat Sacramento in its last game on Saturday.

Williams’ first game as head coach is Thursday when the Starzz again play the Monarchs.

``It’s a dream for me. I didn’t think it would come so soon,″ said Williams, 42, who has been with the Starzz since the 1998 season.

He compiled a 20-9 record as head coach of the women’s team at Southern California between 1995 to 1997, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1997. He was also an assistant at USC for 10 years, including the Trojans’ 1984 NCAA championship squad.

The Starzz feature Natalie Williams, the former Most Valuable Player of the defunct ABL, who is averaging nearly 18 points and 12 rebounds a game this season.

``I feel great about Fred,″ Starzz general manager Fred Howells said. ``Fred has been with the organization long enough to understand the things that we stand for. His coaching credentials are impressive and I think this is a great transition for the franchise.″

Layden came to Utah as the general manager of the Jazz in 1979, a month after the franchise announced plans to relocate from New Orleans.

He began coaching the team during the 1981-82 season and had a 277-294 record in eight seasons. In his third season, Layden earned the NBA Coach of the Year award.