Veteran WNBA player, coach and former Australian Olympian Sandy Brondello (braun-DELL-oh) was named the ninth head coach in franchise history on November 15, 2013. Brondello also serves as the team’s vice president of player personnel. On May 21, 2015, the Mercury exercised the option on her contract for the 2016 season.
Known for her intense preparation for each opponent, Brondello had a record-breaking rookie season as head coach. She was named WNBA Coach of the Year on August 22, 2014 marking the first time a Mercury coach picked up the honor. She led the team to a WNBA regular season-record 29 wins and capped the season with a WNBA Championship. In 2015, she led the Western Conference All-Star team to a 117-112 win at Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2015.
A ten-year veteran of the WNBA coaching ranks, Brondello has been affiliated with the league for 16 of the league’s 19 seasons, including her time as a player. A proven winner internationally and in the WNBA, her ten total years as an assistant coach and head coach have featured seven playoff appearances, including four conference finals berths, the 2014 WNBA Championship and a spot in the 2008 WNBA Finals. Brondello 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), the third-winningest coach in league history.
During the WNBA offseason, Brondello serves an assistant coach with Russian League team UMMC Ekaterinburg. Now the Mercury’s head of player personnel, Phoenix’s pro scouting efforts are buoyed by Brondello’s knowledge of and exposure to overseas talent.
Brondello finished a stellar 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 (WNBL) in Australia (1986-96), and was named the league MVP in 1995. The 5-7 guard was a 10-time German Cup champion while playing with BTV Wuppertal (1992-2002), a three-time European Cup All-Star selection (1994, 1996, 1997), and the 1996 European Cup MVP when she led her team to the title.
An 18-year member of the Australian National Team, Brondello is a four-time Olympian, a two-time silver medalist (2000, 2004) and was named the 1992 Australian International Player of the Year. In her time with the national team, she was a teammate of
Mercury forward Penny Taylor.
Brondello is married to Olaf Lange, who is the head coach of UMMC Ekaterinburg, and the couple has two children, Brody and Jayda.