After eight seasons, eight playoff appearances and a WNBA title in 2014, the Phoenix Mercury are taking things in a new direction.
The team announced Monday that it had mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Sandy Brondello after eight years. Brondello guided Phoenix to the WNBA Finals this past season, losing to the Sky in four games.
“My first move after taking over as general manager in 2013 was to hire Sandy Brondello as our head coach," general manager Jim Pitman said in a statement. "And the basketball success we’ve achieved in that time is a credit to her, her staff, our players, and the culture she was part of building... She oversaw our program with the utmost integrity, and I’m sincerely grateful for her partnership and friendship. Sandy and her family will always be a part of the X-Factor family, and we wish them the best.”
A three-time Olympic medalist (two silver, one bronze) as a player for the Australian national team, Brondello previously coached for the Stars and Sparks before being hired by the Mercury in 2014. She led the team to a 29–5 record and a championship in her first season, winning the league's Coach of the Year award.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity and time that I have had with the Phoenix Mercury and would like to thanks Robert Sarver and Jim Pitman, my staff and players who I have worked with throughout my time," Brondello's statement read. "Thank you also to the X-Factor for your support and for making the atmosphere at our games so memorable.”
In announcing the decision, Pitman acknowledged the team's desire to remain competitive, and that the search for Brondello's replacement was already underway.
“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," Pitman said. "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.”
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