Phoenix Mercury, head coach Sandy Brondello part ways

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

After leading the Phoenix Mercury to the WNBA Finals this past season, head Sandy Brondello is on the market after the team announced Monday that they have mutually agreed to part ways. Brondello’s contract, which expired after the 2021 season, will not be renewed.

Brondello has been with the Mercury since 2014, when she led the franchise to its third WNBA title in her first season. In eight seasons with Phoenix, she amassed a 150-108 record and made the playoffs every year. Under Brondello, the Mercury made two Finals and six semifinals appearances and recorded nine single-elimination playoff wins.

“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.

“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.”

A former WNBA and Australian national team player, Brondello won three Olympic medals with Australia. She’s served as head coach of the Opals since 2017 and will lead the team into the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Australia.

Brondello, 53, began her coaching career in 2005 as an assistant for the San Antonio Silver Stars. In 2010, she was promoted to head coach. Before taking over the Mercury job, she served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Sparks from 2011-13. Brondello’s husband, Olaf Lange, is an assistant coach with the Chicago Sky.

“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 Mercury are now the second WNBA team to have a vacant position at head coach after the New York Liberty announced Monday that they were parting ways with Walt Hopkins after two seasons.