Sandy Brondello out as Phoenix Mercury coach after WNBA Finals appearance


The Phoenix Mercury announced Monday they are not renewing the contract of longtime coach Sandy Brondello, who led the team to the WNBA Finals this past season.

Her deal expired after the 2021 season.

Brondello had guided the Mercury since 2014, winning the franchise’s third title that year. She had a 150-108 record in eight seasons with Phoenix, making the playoffs every year. The Mercury lost 3-1 to Chicago in the WNBA Finals in October after going 19-13 in the regular season.

Brondello’s husband, Olaf Lange, is an assistant for Chicago.

“She oversaw our program with the utmost integrity, and I’m sincerely grateful for her partnership and friendship,” Mercury general manager Jim Pitman said in a statement. “Sandy and her family will always be a part of the X-Factor family, and we wish them the best. “

At the same time, we understand that an eight-year tenure for a head coach is an exception in any professional sport, and we are confident a new voice is necessary for our team at this time. Our expectation is to compete for championships now and in the future, and the search to find the head coach who can help lead us there has already begun.”

The Mercury were led by center Brittney Griner and guard Diana Taurasi, who are both former No. 1 draft picks, along with guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who came to Phoenix via trade before the 2020 season. Taurasi, 39, just completed her 17th season in the WNBA.

Brondello is the head coach for Australian national team, the Opals, who lost in the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The next major event is the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, which takes place Sept. 22-Oct. 1 in Australia next year.

Brondello is a former WNBA player (1998-2003) and played for the Australian national team as well. She took part in three Olympics for the Opals, winning a bronze medal in 1996 and silver medals in 2000 and 2004.

She began her coaching career as an assistant in San Antonio from 2005 to 2009, and then spent 2010 as head coach with the Stars. She was then an assistant from 2011 to 2013 in Los Angeles before taking over the Mercury.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity and time that I have had with the Phoenix Mercury,” Brondello said in a statement, “and would like to thank Robert Sarver and Jim Pitman, my staff and players who I have worked with throughout my time. Thank you also to the X-Factor for your support and for making the atmosphere at our games so memorable.”

The announcement about Brondello created the second WNBA head coach opening on Monday. New York said earlier in the day it was parting ways with Walt Hopkins after two seasons.

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