Former WNBA All-Star joins first WNBA staff, replaces Mercury legend Penny Taylor

With the 2020 WNBA season now set to begin later this summer, the Mercury rounded out its coaching staff with the hiring of 12-year WNBA veteran player Chasity Melvin as an assistant coach.  Melvin joins Sandy Brondello’s staff alongside lead assistant coach Julie Hairgrove, whose 16-year tenure in Phoenix is the longest in the WNBA, and first-year player development coach Zach O’Brien, who last season coached with the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League.  Melvin assumes the role previously held by Mercury legend Penny Taylor, who steps away from coaching to focus on being a full-time mother.

“Creating opportunities for former players to grow in our game is central to our mission, and an important part of that is ensuring that we are replacing a former WNBA player on our coaching staff with another former player. Chasity knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels, thanks to her time in the WNBA, and already has experience coaching both the women’s and men’s games. We are excited to welcome her to the Valley and the Mercury family.”

– GM Jim Pitman

“Part of being a family and working toward equality in this space is supporting working moms. We fully understand and support Penny’s decision to focus on her role as a mother. Whether through our game-day nanny services in Phoenix, the new WNBA CBA’s commitment to family planning and childcare, or our work in the community, we will continue to be an ally to moms in our league and in the Valley.”

While this will be Melvin’s first WNBA coaching stint, she is no stranger to the coaching ranks. After being accepted into the NBA Player Development Assistant Coaches Program in 2018, she was hired by the Charlotte Hornets to be an assistant coach for the team’s G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, becoming the first female coach within the Hornets’ organization. Following one season with the Swarm, Melvin was hired as an assistant coach for the Loyola University (Maryland) women’s basketball program last fall, where she spent the 2019-20 college season.

A graduate of North Carolina State, Melvin played under legendary basketball coach Kay Yow during her four years with the Wolfpack. While there, she became the first player in program history to record 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds. Melvin led NC State to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Final Four as a senior, the program’s first trip to the Final Four. She was a two-time All-ACC First Team selection, was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

Following a stellar collegiate career, Melvin was selected with the 11th-overall pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft by the Cleveland Rockers. Her 12-year playing career saw stints in Chicago and Washington, and in 2001 she was named a WNBA All-Star. Accumulating over 4,000 points and 2,000 rebounds in her career, Melvin’s 890 career offensive rebounds continues to rank seventh-best in WNBA history to this day.

Before going into coaching, Melvin served as an ambassador for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as the Director of Communication. Additionally, she’s consultant for several elite AAU teams during her post-playing career and has assisted at the NBPA’s Top 100 High School Basketball Camps.