Atlanta Dream coach Marynell Meadors fired

In the midst of her fourth winning season as Atlanta’s head coach and general manager, Marynell Meadors was fired today – her birthday. Assistant coach Fred Williams has stepped into her spot.

Team owners gave no reason for the firing.

Fans, coaches and players are scratching their head over a move that doesn’t make any sense:

Meadors was named WNBA coach of the year in 2009 after she lead the Dream to the second-biggest one year turnaround in league history. The Dream followed up their four-win 2008 inaugural campaign with 18 victories and a playoff berth.

Meadors also led the Dream to consecutive WNBA Finals appearances in 2010 and 2011.

This season, the Dream are currently third in the Eastern Conference with a 12-12 record.

Earlier this month, Meadors helped coach the US Olympic team to a gold medal, as an assistant coach. Head coach Geno Auriemma weighed in on twitter with his displeasure at the move.

Some are speculating that all-star forward Angel McCoughtry’s two-game absence last week had something to do with Meadors’ departure. McCoughtry’s tardy return to the Dream after the Olympics had already been cause for curiosity.

What to make of all of this? Why fire one of the best coaches in the league, while other under-achievers are allowed to hang around? It’s mind-boggling.