SPARKS NAME WNBA VETERAN BRIDGET PETTIS ASSISTANT COACH
OLAF LANGE AND GAIL GOESTENKORS NAMED CONSULTANTS
Pettis brings 12 years of WNBA experience to the Sparks as a player, coach and director of basketball operations for the Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever. As a player, she was selected by Phoenix in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1997 WNBA Draft as an original member of the inaugural Mercury team. She was the first player in Phoenix history to score a point for the Mercury. Pettis played for the Mercury from 1997 to 2001 and 2004 to 2006 and spent two seasons in Indiana with the Fever (2002 to 2003). During her first two seasons with Phoenix, she started 56 of 58 games, averaging over 11 points in both seasons (11.3ppg, 1998;12.6 ppg, 1997). During her eight-year career, she played in 228 games (71 starts), totaling 1,408 career points.
“I’m extremely excited to be able to work with the Sparks and learn from Coach Ross,” said Pettis. “Since I was a kid I have been working with Carol and know she is not only an awesome teacher, but a skilled coach and I am happy to be able to join her staff. The energy and passion I bring and the ability to help players connect and work together is something I know I brought in Phoenix. It is just going to be fun to do the same in Los Angeles with a new group to work with and help build.”
With Phoenix, she served as an assistant coach from 2006 to 2009 and director of basketball operations from 2010-2011 before retiring at the end of the 2011 season. In 2006, she was honored for her contributions to the Mercury organization with a permanent banner that hangs in US Airways Center.
“I’m excited to bring Bridget on to our staff. She brings many years of WNBA experience to our team, both as a player and a coach,” said Ross “She will be a great asset to our players as both a teacher and mentor and I look forward to having her on our bench.”
Lange brings 18 years of coaching experience to the Sparks coaching staff. Most recently, Lange served as head coach of UMMC EKATERINBURG, the 2013 FIBA EuroLeague Champions, led by Sparks All-Star Candace Parker.
Lange’s coaching career began in 1995 and he has served in various roles for several FIBA EuroLeague and Europe Cup clubs and for both the men’s and women’s German national team. He spent two seasons (2005-2007) as the associate head coach at Liberty University before joining the staff of the San Antonio Silver Stars in 2007 as an assistant coach. In 2010, he served as an associate head coach for the Silver Stars under wife and then head coach Sandy Brondello. Lange also spent two seasons (2010-12) as the head coach and general manager of the BDS Logan Thunder of the WNBL (Australia).
Goestenkors comes to the Sparks with over 25 years of coaching experience, primarily on the collegiate level. From 1992-2007, she was the head coach of Duke Women’s Basketball team where she coached Sparks guards and Duke alums Alana Beard and Lindsey Harding. During her career at Duke, she led the Blue Devils to 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and seven consecutive 30-win seasons. The seven-time ACC Coach of the Year, 2003 Naismith and 2007 AP Coach of the Year left Duke for the University of Texas where she coached from 2007 until resigning in 2012. Goestenkors was also an assistant for the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Gold-medal winning U.S. Women’s Basketball Team.
“Both Olaf and Gail bring a wealth of basketball knowledge and experience in various aspects of the game,” Ross said. “Their expertise and insight as consultants will be very valuable to the Sparks in helping us reach our goal of winning a WNBA Championship.”
Assistant Coach Jim Lewis left the team due to family reasons.
“Last season was a tremendous run making it to the Western Conference Finals and we had a lot of fun getting there,” said Lewis. “I would like to thank the Sparks organization and the fans and wish everyone a great 2013 season!"
Los Angeles will open its 2013 regular season schedule against Seattle on Sunday, May 26 at 5:30 p.m. at STAPLES Center.
Sparks individual tickets are on sale now and start at $15. Season and group ticket plans, in all lower-bowl sections of STAPLES Center, are available now by calling 877-44-SPARKS (772757) or visiting LASparks.com.