College - Loyola Marymount
General Manager and Head Coach
Entering his fifth season as Head Coach of the Phoenix Mercury, Corey Gaines will become the longest-tenured coach in franchise history and last year became the all-time winningest coach in franchise history surpassing the legendary Cheryl Miller. Following the 2011 season, Gaines was given authority over player personnel when he was named General Manager in addition to his coaching responsibilities.
Gaines also serves as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
A 22-year veteran of the up-tempo, fastbreak style of play which has become a Phoenix staple, Gaines learned the system at Loyola Marymount as the point guard for Paul Westhead, the “Guru of Go”. Westhead took over as head coach of the Mercury in 2006 and Gaines followed his mentor as the club’s top assistant in charge of an offense that set WNBA records for scoring average in both 2006 (87.1) and 2007 (89.0).
After winning the first WNBA championship in franchise history in 2007, Gaines was named the seventh head coach in team history and in 2009 led the Mercury to its second title. The Mercury was the first team to secure a spot in postseason play that season and entered the playoffs as the WNBA’s top seed, eventually defeating the Indiana Fever in five games in the WNBA Finals to hoist the 2009 championship trophy at US Airways Center on Oct. 9, 2009.
With Gaines on the sideline, the Mercury has led the league in scoring in six consecutive seasons, setting league records four times, and has established a style of play that is being replicated throughout the league.
As a collegiate athlete, the Los Angeles native spent his first three seasons at UCLA alongside Reggie Miller before transferring to LMU in 1986, redshirting during the 1986-87 campaign and starting at point guard the following season when he engineered a 26-game win streak as a teammate of Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers.
Gaines was originally selected by the Seattle Supersonics in the third round (65th overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft and spent five seasons with five different NBA teams, earning him a trip to the 1994 NBA Finals with the New York Knicks. Gaines competed 12 years internationally, including a stint as the starting point guard with Scavalini in Italy, playing against a Benetton team, which was coached at the time by former Phoenix Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni.
The 45-year-old re-joined Westhead in the ABA with the Long Beach Jam in 2003, serving as a player and an assistant helping the team to a championship. Gaines coached a squad with six current and former NBA players including Matt Barnes (Orlando Magic), Matt Carroll (Dallas Mavericks), Yuta Tabuse and Dennis Rodman.