Pettis Named Assistant Coach

PHOENIX – Phoenix Mercury legend and fan favorite Bridget Pettis, after playing eight seasons in the WNBA, will take her basketball career in a new direction and join the team’s coaching staff as an assistant, the Mercury announced today.

“What an exciting season this has been for Bridget,” said Mercury General Manager Seth Sulka. “After having her number raised to the rafters along with Jennifer Gillom and Michele Timms, she is able to transition her career into coaching. This move allows her to remain with the Mercury where her commitment and passion for the game will continue to have a positive influence on the Mercury organization and our fans.”

Pettis, who was an original member of the Mercury from 1997-2001, returned to the team on April 20, 2006. Pettis averaged 1.3 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 11 games for the Mercury this season.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to continue to be a part of the team and organization. As I transition out of my playing days in the WNBA, I know I can still impact the team and am eager to learn under coach Westhead,” Pettis said.

The 35-year-old Pettis will join Mercury Head Coach Paul Westhead’s coaching staff, along with assistant coaches Corey Gaines and Julie Brase-Hairgrove.

This new role comes 23 days after the franchise and its loyal fans paid tribute to Pettis, Jennifer Gillom, Michele Timms and Cheryl Miller in a halftime ceremony that included the unveiling of a banner that hangs permanently from the rafters at US Airways Center.

One of the original Mercury, Pettis started for Phoenix in the team’s inaugural game in 1997 and scored the first basket in team history. Pettis spent five seasons with the Mercury (1997-2001), playing in 154 consecutive games, and averaging 8.2 points per game.

The explosive Pettis is the fourth leading scorer in franchise history and had her best statistical season in the team’s inaugural campaign when she averaged career-highs of 12.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

Traded to the Indiana Fever before the 2002 season, Pettis did not play in the WNBA in 2004 or 2005 but continued to play overseas before returning to the Mercury this season.

The Mercury returns to US Airways Center this Sunday, July 2, at 6:00 p.m. to take on the Washington Mystics.