Mercury Announces New Leadership, Signings
PHOENIX - The two-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today announced a new management structure that will more closely align the club with the Phoenix Suns organization. Suns President Jason Rowley will assume the role of Mercury president of business operations and Suns Executive Vice President Jim Pitman will serve as general manager and oversee the Mercury's basketball operations in tandem with Sandy Brondello, the team's newly-named head coach and vice president of player personnel. In addition, the team has announced that veteran assistant coaches Julie Hairgrove and Anthony Boone will return and serve as Brondello's staff.
“The Mercury is an important part of our organization, our city and a leader in the WNBA, and our goal is to build on the successes of last season, both on and off the court,” said Rowley. “Making the choice to completely integrate Suns and Mercury operations allows us to utilize resources in a better way to ensure exactly that.”
A senior executive with the Suns for more than seven years, Rowley has directed the Suns' business operations as president since 2012. His oversight includes the club’s interests in the management of US Airways Center, the Legends Entertainment District and now the Mercury. Rowley previously served as the Suns’ Chief Operating Officer, as well as its Senior Vice President and General Counsel. He is a former member of the United States Navy and earned his law degree in 2001 from the University of Arizona.
Pitman currently oversees all financial aspects of the Suns, Mercury and US Airways Center. Now in his 22nd season as a team executive, Pitman has played a prominent role in Mercury salary cap management and contract negotiation since the team’s inception in 1997, including the club's 2007 and 2009 championship seasons. Pitman also directed the Mercury's last two coaching searches. He and Brondello will oversee all aspects of Mercury basketball operations.
The return of Hairgrove and Boone will bring continuity to the Mercury’s coaching staff under first-year head coach Brondello. A member of both Mercury championship coaching staffs, Hairgrove recently completed her ninth season as a Mercury assistant coach, and was instrumental in the team’s success after a midseason coaching change in 2013. A former four-year starter at the University of Arizona, Hairgrove is the granddaughter of Hall of Fame Arizona coach Lute Olsen, and is a mother of three.
Boone joined the Mercury staff in August after four seasons as an assistant at Grand Canyon University. In a short time with the Mercury, his individual work with the team’s post players was credited for an improved offensive repertoire for center Brittney Griner and dramatic improvement in the all-around play of center Krystal Thomas. Despite undergoing four knee surgeries during his collegiate career, Boone played in 79 of 94 games at Ole Miss, and joined Archie Manning as the only student/athletes in Rebels history to have their jersey numbers retired.