NBA Head Coach Urges Forgiveness for Driver Who Caused Death of His Wife

Anyone who follows the National Basketball Association (NBA) will know that Monty Williams is the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. What they might not know is that when Williams delivered the eulogy for his wife who was killed in a head-on car crash five years ago, he urged forgiveness and prayers for the driver who took his wife’s life and injured three of his children.

Phoenix Suns Head Coach Monty Williams

Williams and his wife Ingrid, 44, had been married for 20 years before she died on Feb. 10, 2016, from injuries sustained a day earlier in that crash. The car Ingrid was driving was struck head-on by an SUV that was traveling at 88-92 mph in a 40-mph zone and which crossed the center line after losing control. The other driver, Susannah Donaldson, died instantly in the collision.

Instead of blaming Donaldson, Williams used the death of his wife to preach forgiveness. At Ingrid’s memorial service, Williams delivered a powerful seven-minute eulogy in which he advocated forgiveness for Donaldson and prayers for her family.

“The most important thing we need to understand is that everybody is praying for me and my family,” Williams said at Ingrid’s funeral. “But let us not forget that there were two people in this situation and that family needs prayer as well. We have no ill-will toward the Donaldson family.”

Ingrid Elaine Williams 1971-2016

The memorial service for Ingrid was attended by more than 900 people. Ingrid and Monty met while both attended Notre Dame where she competed in track and field and where Monty was a 6’8″ tall basketball star. At the time of the deadly crash, their five children ranged in age from 5 to 17.

“In my house, we have a sign that says, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,’” Williams said. “We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness. Let’s not lose sight of what’s important and let’s not lose sight of that family that also lost someone they love.”

Just a year after his wife’s tragic death, Williams received the inaugural Sager Strong Award presented by the NBA to an individual who has been “a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace.” Williams’ career in the NBA has spanned more than two decades with nine seasons as a player before serving as a coach or assistant for five different NBA teams. He became head coach of the Phoenix Suns in May 2019. He was also an assistant coach to Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University) for the men’s national basketball team that won the Gold Medal for the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Watch the full seven-minute eulogy by Monty Williams.


 

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