Sandy Brondello : Head Coach and Mom

Sandy Brondello sits with San Antonio's Becky Hammon
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images
Four-time Olympian, former WNBA All-Star and San Antonio Silver Stars head coach Sandy Brondello has certainly experienced her share of accolades over the years. From competing on the international stage for Australia to playing for the Detroit Shock, Miami Sol and Seattle Storm of the WNBA, Brondello's love for the game continues to grow with each passing day. But perhaps the biggest addition over the years, far greater than any Olympic medal or Player of the Year Award, is her family; a family that is less than a month away from adding one more to the lineup.

The current mother of one Ė weíll say one and a half - is entering her first season as head coach of the Silver Stars, all while expecting her second child before the first week of June.

In honor of Motherís Day, chatted with Sandy to discuss what itís like being a parent and coach in the WNBA.

First off, how is the pregnancy going and how are you feeling?

Sandy Brondello: I feel great. We have a three-year-old son already and the second pregnancy is going as smoothly as the first one did. Some of the girls are asking me if Iím feeling uncomfortable, but I donít. Iím working out pretty regularly. Itís been a part of my life for so long. I think that helps. Staying active has helped me stay healthy and everything has just been going fine, a smooth pregnancy thus far.

How has working out changed now that youíre pregnant? What kind of exercises are you doing?

SB: I have continued to do the things Iíve done in the past but just not at such a high intensity. Up until a month ago I was still lifting weights, just not as heavy. I probably go more on the elliptical than I do on the treadmill. Running stopped about two months ago. Not that I was running for a long time but itís a lot of walking uphill on the treadmill, elliptical and also swimming. Thatís basically what Iíve been focusing on. I worked out with our training/strength conditioning coach in the offseason and she was really good. She just monitored my program and made it interesting. That was fun. It got me motivated, but like I said itís a part of my life and Iíve always been active. But now that training camp has started Iím a little bit more tired. Iím standing up all day and I need to get home to my son, but Iím not working out as much now as I did before training camp started.

When are you expecting?

SB: May 31st is the due date, so about three weeks. Iím quite large. Itís like I have a basketball up my shirt. (laughs) But I feel good. I can still walk around. Iím glad I donít have any complications. Just want to be able to get back on the court and do what I love.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be in trying to balance out your time as a mom and your time as a coach?

SB: Our sonís always traveled with us on every trip weíve done. Obviously he was done before the season; he was a February baby. So I had a little time to adapt to that. With this being my second baby, at least I know what to expect and what Iím doing really. Iím much more educated the second time than the first time. Itís more of just finding the balance, getting the rest when I can and usually thereís support around me when I need to. My husband and I, weíve been coaches here for a while. A lot of our work is done from home, so thatís very useful to me.

How long do you think youíll coach before you give birth?

SB: Iím not allowed to fly anymore until the babyís born. Iím expecting to miss maybe three regular season games, but thatís obviously depends on how I recover and how Iím doing after surgery and that. But once I have the strength and the babyís fine, Iíll start to travel again and Iíll travel with someone who will help me out and take care of the baby when Iím on the court.

Only three games?

SB: (laughs) Well, thatís the plan. Unless I go before my due date or a miss I game here or there. So it can be anywhere between three and six games. The less the better for me, but I know that I need to recover, feel comfortable and get my strength back before I get back. In the mean time, Olaf will step into my shoes. Itís not like we donít have an experienced coach in the background.

You might even have Lisa Leslie or Candace Parker beat on that one, coming back after only three or four games.

SB: (laughs) Well if I was running up and down the court it might be a different case. I just have to stand there and yell instructions, so itís a little different.

What comes first Ė being a coach or being a mom?

SB: Being a mom. Without a doubt. I was a professional athlete for a long time. Iíve seen a lot of things throughout my career, but nothing outweighs being a mother and giving birth. Our son, and now weíre having a baby girl Ė thatís the number one priority. Iím just blessed that Iím able to do two things. I love basketball too, but my priority is to be a mother number one.

So now with both of your kids growing up in a house where mom and dad are basketball coaches, can I assume the kiddies will be packing up in a mini van or something for games every weekend?

SB: (laughs) Yeah, probably. I mean, Brody is very athletic and he loves going to the basketball games so thatís what heís grown up around. I always find that children, and I learned from my own childhood, theyíre very resilient and they get the depth of the surroundings that theyíre in. So yeah, the kids will be growing up around a basketball court but like every parent says, we want them to pick the sport they play.

When you came over from Australia in 1998 with the Detroit Shock, what was communication like with your mom back home?

SB: Iíve always been close but itís not something where I have to talk every day. Iím close with her and obviously I saw her once a week usually. Sheís always been there for me throughout my whole career. She offers advice where she can in terms of being a mother.

Is Mom still in Australia or is she stateside now?

SB: No, all my family is in Australia. And my husbandís German so all of his family is in Germany. Weíre kind of in the middle, but we have a great support system. San Antonio is such a great place to bring children up and also we work for a great organization. Being a parent is important to me and Iím happy Iím able to travel with my children and thatís not a problem. Dan Hughes is great like that. Heís a real family man. Itís just been a great opportunity for us to be able to work with him.

So after all that international play throughout your playing career, youíre still traveling around the world, huh?

SB: Yeah it doesnít stop. I was talking to my husband the other day about that. Weíre basketball coaches, what else could we possibly do? We both have a passion for the game, we love the game and we love teaching the game. Itís exciting and now we have this opportunity for us to coach. As a coach I just want to get better every single day.

What are your plans for Motherís Day?

SB: Well, the team gets back on Saturday night so I think itíll just be time spent with Olaf and Brody and relaxing. We try to do as much things with Brody before the season so itíll be a family day.