Mercury hire Sandy Brondello as head coach

PHOENIX — The two-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today named veteran WNBA player, coach and former Australian Olympian Sandy Brondello the ninth head coach in franchise history. Brondello was also named the team’s vice president of player personnel.  

“In a thorough search of very qualified candidates, Sandy separated herself as the right coach for this team and the right person for this job,” said Mercury executive vice president Jim Pitman. “She is a winner, a leader, an excellent communicator and a detail-oriented tactician.  Her lifetime of basketball experience and her ability to evaluate talent year-round will greatly benefit our organization, and we are thrilled to welcome such a great ambassador of the women’s game.”

Brondello replaces Russ Pennell, who served as interim coach for the second half of the 2013 season following the dismissal of Corey Gaines.

A nine-year veteran of the WNBA coaching ranks, Brondello has been affiliated with the WNBA for 14 of the league’s 17 seasons, including her time as a player.  She joins the Mercury after most recently serving as lead assistant coach for the Los Angeles Sparks (2011-13) under 2012 WNBA Coach of the Year Carol Ross.  Brondello led the San Antonio Silver Stars to a 2010 playoff berth in her lone season at the helm following five seasons on the Silver Stars bench as an assistant under Dan Hughes (2005-09).

“I am very humbled and excited about the opportunity to be the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury,” said Brondello.  “It is an organization that I have respected and admired for so long. The team has great past achievements and I will be working hard to continue that legacy of success.  I am looking forward to having the great fans in Phoenix behind me now and not against me.”

During the WNBA offseason, Brondello serves an assistant coach with Russian League team UMMC, the squad for which Mercury star Diana Taurasi plays in the winter and spring.

“Having played for Sandy overseas I know the dedication and passion she will bring to the Phoenix Mercury,” Taurasi said.  “We are all excited for the future.”

Brondello finished a 17-year professional playing career with a five-year run in the WNBA in which she played for Detroit (1998-99), Miami (2001-02) and Seattle (2003), and was named a 1999 WNBA All-Star.  She began her career with the Women’s National Basketball League in Australia in 1986 and was named the league MVP in 1995. She also played extensively in Europe and was a four-time Olympian for Australia, during which she was a teammate of the Mercury’s Penny Taylor.

“I am so excited to get to work with Sandy,” said Taylor.  “Her knowledge of the women’s game and basketball experience in the WNBA and around the world are second to none.”