PHOENIX - The two-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today named veteran WNBA player, coach and former Australian Olympian Sandy Brondello (braun-DELL-oh) 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 add such a great ambassador of the women's game."
"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."
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. A proven winner internationally and in the WNBA, her nine total years as an assistant coach and head coach have featured six playoff appearances, including three conference finals berths 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, the squad for which Mercury star Diana Taurasi plays in the winter and spring. Now the Mercury's head of player personnel, Phoenix's pro scouting efforts will be buoyed by Brondello's knowledge of and exposure to overseas talent.
"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."
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.
"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."
Brondello is married to Olaf Lange, who is the head coach of UMMC (Russia), and the couple has two children, Brody and Jayda.