Monty Williams looks on during a Phoenix Suns game.
Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Monty Williams Lost His Wife Ingrid in a Tragic Car Accident, But Faith Helps Him Heal


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Monty Williams deserves all the praise.

The Phoenix Suns head coach has taken a perennial bottom feeder to the NBA Finals for the first time in 28 years. It should come as little surprise that the Suns are now Western Conference champs after going on a tear last season in the NBA Bubble during the coronavirus pandemic. With stars like Chris Paul and Devin Booker, they're legit.

Williams has certainly found a home in Phoenix. Even after tragedy struck his family.

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Monty Williams' Wife Ingrid Williams

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Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has been involved in the NBA in some capacity since 1994. He was a player for the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs (where he was teammates with Doc Rivers), Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers.

After his playing career, he moved to the bench where he went from forward Monty Williams to assistant coach Monty Williams. He served on the coaching staff of the Portland Trail Blazers for five years before being hired as the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets, who later became the New Orleans Pelicans.

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Five seasons later, Williams moved out of the Big Easy to Oklahoma City, where he was an assistant coach under then-Oklahoma City Thunder headman Billy Donovan, who now coaches the Chicago Bulls.

During his one season in OKC, Ingrid was tragically killed in a car crash when a driver crossed lanes and hit her in a head-on collision near Downtown Oklahoma City. The other driver, Susannah Donaldson, also died. So did her dog, who was riding in her lap at the time. Ingrid was just 44.

News outlets from the Associated Press to The Oklahoman covered the heartbreaking event, reporting that Donaldson had a substantial amount of methamphetamine in her system at the time her car crossed the center line.

The Thunder issued a statement after the car accident:

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"The Thunder organization has heavy hearts tonight with the news of Ingrid's passing," the statement read. "Words cannot adequately describe how deep our sorrow is for the loss of Monty's wife. Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty and his family, and we will support him in every way possible. We know the entire community of Oklahoma City has them in their prayers."

Ingrid and Monty also dealt with a health scare during the birth of their son, Micah. The couple had five children together (Faith, Lael, Janna, Elijah and Micah), three of which were injured in the same crash that killed Ingrid. Williams delivered a powerful speech at the memorial service.

Monty Williams' Powerful Eulogy at Ingrid's Funeral

After Ingrid's death and lone season in Oklahoma, Williams became the vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, where he worked closely with head coach Gregg Popovich. He also served on the coaching staff for the USA Basketball team under Mike Krzyzewski for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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Williams has also spoken about his faith following his wife's death. "There's a lot of times within the faith, as a Christian, that most people think we walk around like we have it together, and I just got to be straight with you," the NBA Coach said to The Undefeated in 2018. "I need the Lord because I don't have it together. Whether it's winning or losing or getting a contract or not getting signed by a team and all the in-between, my faith allows me to hopefully have something to hold onto that's much bigger than sports."

The former Pelicans coach and Notre Dame grad took the head coaching job for the Suns in 2019. The team improved in his first season, and they got even better when they traded for Chris Paul in the following offseason.

Paul was one of the people who was right there to offer support to the Williams family and Monty after his wife's passing back in 2016.

"Chris has meant so much to my career, so much to my life," Williams told the media. "I've shared it with a few people, but the darkest moment of my life, Chris was right there. And one of the highlights of my career, he's right there. So I'm just grateful to God for him. And all of our guys."

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The Suns look like the favorites to take home the Larry O'Brien Trophy after their performance in last year's NBA playoffs. First, they took down the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers. Then, they swept NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Finally, they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Finals on ESPN.

After a tough NBA Finals battle against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Suns went home empty-handed. But that didn't stop them from attempting to run it back in 2022 under head coach Monty Williams where they were once against favorites to reach the NBA FInals out of the Western Conference.

Williams faced an unimaginable tragedy. His perseverance is reflected in his team. But now, there's a new woman in his life.

Monty Williams' Second Wife, Lisa Keeth

Monty Williams hugs Chris Pail after the Phoneix Suns advance to the 2021 NBA Finals

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Lisa Keeth and Williams tied the knot in a secret ceremony after the passing of his wife. Keeth, a Senior Manager of Partnership Activation with the San Antonio Spurs, doesn't let her allegiance to the Spurs get in the way of their marriage.

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Not much is known about Keeth, but when there is news to report, we'll be right there to update you on everything.

This article was originally published on July 2, 2021, and has been updated since. 

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