WNBA

Sparks promote Kobe's father to coach

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LOS ANGELES (AP)

The Los Angeles Sparks have dismissed Jennifer Gillom as coach and replaced her with Joe ''Jellybean'' Bryant, the father of Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant who previously coached the WNBA team.

General Manager Penny Toler announced the move Sunday night, saying it was necessary to take the team in a different direction.

Bryant previously coached the Sparks from August 2005 through the 2006 season, guiding them to two playoff appearances. He was hired in March as an assistant to Gillom. Sandy Brondello remains as an assistant.

Toler says it was difficult to dismiss Gillom, who lost several players to injuries during her tenure, including Sparks star Candace Parker. She is currently out six weeks with a knee injury.

The Sparks are 0-5 on their current seven-game road trip and 4-6 overall.

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