The next head coach of the Mercury is....
The Phoenix Mercury hired Sandy Brondello as the teams next head coach. She has a strong resume as a former WNBA Player and medal winner with the Australian Olympic Team. She is a nine year WNBA veteran and served as an assistant for six years after that.
After five and a half years of consistency the Mercury now feature their third coach in just under six months.
The Mercury made the move from Corey Gaines to Russ Pennell to jump-start the team, which worked, leading to a trip to the Western Conference Finals after starting 10-11 this past summer. Pennell made an effort to feature the teams rookie phenom Brittney Griner and strike a balance between offense and defense, but only had 13 games not counting the playoffs to implement a system.
Pennell made the decision to move back into the college ranks where his heart truly is.
With that, the team introduces Brondello who will also serve as the Vice President of Player Personnel this year. Her ties to the Mercury start with playing with Penny Taylor on the National Team, to coaching Diana Taurasi in Russia, and to coaching against the Mercury in the 2010 WNBA Playoffs.
"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."
Brondello was on Carol Ross' staff in Los Angeles this past year and coached the San Antonio Silver Stars before that. She has experience with star players (Candace Parker) and talented bigs (Danielle Adams) with success. Now she has both.
There should be some comfort and chemistry early with the Mercury players and Brondello initially. Coaching style and game-plans will run through Taurasi and Griner, which will be a fun challenge for the new coach.
Taylor and Taurasi have reacted positively to the new coaching hire.
"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."
"Having played for Sandy overseas I know the dedication and passion she will bring to the Phoenix Mercury," said Taurasi. "We are all excited for the future."
Now the attention of the team turns to free-agency, college basketball scouting, the 2014 WNBA Draft, and putting the right pieces on the court for Brondello to be successful. The biggest difference with the announcement of Brondello and the two that preceded her; Vice President of Player Personnel. Not the Coach-GM hybrid that the team has been used to over the years.