The three-time WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury today announced the hiring of Mercury legend and 2009 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jennifer Gillom as the team’s Player Development Coach. Gillom, the first player allocated to the Mercury at the league’s inception in 1997, played six seasons in Phoenix and her No. 22 hangs in the rafters of Talking Stick Resort Arena.
“On and off the court, the Mercury is where it is today thanks in part to Jen Gillom, and we are excited to welcome her back,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “To be able to add a coach of Jen’s experience and a former post player of her caliber in the role of player development, especially after using two of our top draft picks on young forwards, is something we expect to be very beneficial. And, of course, the X-Factor’s love for her is an added bonus.”
As Phoenix’s Player Development Coach, Gillom will oversee the on-court development and skill-training of Mercury players, and work in concert with head coach Sandy Brondello and assistant coaches Julie Hairgrove and Penny Taylor. Gillom’s on-court work will begin with the Mercury’s 2019 training camp this May.
Gillom was the first Mercury player in franchise history after being allocated to Phoenix during the league’s 1997 initial allocation. During her six years in a Mercury jersey, Gillom averaged 15.3 points and 5.0 rebounds in 183 career games from 1997-2002, and helped lead the franchise to playoff appearances in three of its first four seasons, including a berth in the 1998 WNBA Finals. She was a two-time All-WNBA Team member (1998 First Team), a 1999 WNBA All-Star, and the league’s 2002 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award winner.
In Gillom, the Mercury not only add a familiar face but an experienced WNBA coach who has spent five seasons as an assistant (Minnesota, 2008; Washington, 2012; Connecticut, 2013-15) and three years as a head coach (Minnesota, 2009; Los Angeles, 2010-11). She was an assistant coach for Team USA at both the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Brazil and 2012 Summer Olympics in London, both of which resulted in gold medals for Team USA.
Gillom currently serves, and will continue to serve, as the girls basketball head coach at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix, where she guided the team to state runners-up in this year’s AIA Girls Basketball State Championship. She served as the head coach of the team from 2004-09, then returned to the team as an assistant coach for the 2016-17 season before taking over the reins this year.
After coming within one win of trip to the WNBA Finals, the Phoenix Mercury return in 2019 in search of a league-record tying fourth WNBA title. Led by the All-Star trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix opens its title quest on May 25 at Seattle on ABC. Tickets for Fry’s Food Stores Opening Night on Friday, May 31, at Talking Stick Resort Arena can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.