Mercury Coach Sandy Brondello Named WNBA Coach of the Year After Guiding Phoenix to League's Best Record
NEW YORK, Aug. 22, 2014 – Phoenix Head Coach Sandy Brondello, who in her first season on the Mercury bench guided the franchise to a league-best 29-5 record and the highest single-season win total in league history, is the recipient of the 2014 WNBA Coach of the Year Award, the WNBA announced today.
Brondello received 33 votes from a national panel of 38 sportswriters and broadcasters. Three-time winner Mike Thibault of the Washington Mystics and 2011 WNBA Coach of the Year Cheryl Reeve of the Minnesota Lynx each received two votes, while the Atlanta Dream’s Michael Cooper received one vote.
Brondello, who earned the honor for the first time in her career, is the second woman to have played in the WNBA and gone on to win Coach of the Year honors. In 2004, Minnesota’s Suzie McConnell-Serio became the first former player to capture the top coaching award.
Under Brondello’s leadership this season, Phoenix improved its win total by 10 games from a year ago (29-5 vs. 19-15) and in the process, author a 16-game winning streak, marking the second longest in WNBA history. The Mercury also set franchise records for highest winning percentage (.853), highest home winning percentage (.941, 16-1), most consecutive home wins (15) and most consecutive road wins (seven).
The Mercury coach also impacted the play of All-Stars Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Taurasi, a five-time scoring leader, led the league in assists this year, becoming the first player in league history to pace the WNBA in points and assists at some point during her career. In the process, she finished as the runner-up to the Minnesota Lynx’s Maya Moore in balloting for the WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Samsung. Griner, who finished fifth in MVP voting, enjoyed a breakout campaign that included a league record for blocks in a season (129), while also posting increases from last season in scoring (12.6 ppg to 15.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg to 8.0 rpg).
Prior to joining the Mercury, Brondello spent eight seasons as a WNBA assistant with the San Antonio Stars (2005-09) and Los Angeles Sparks (2011-13), reaching the conference finals three times and the WNBA Finals in 2008. In her lone previous stint as a WNBA head coach, Brondello led San Antonio to a playoff berth in 2010.
An 18-year member of the Australian National Team as a player, the native of Queensland is a four-time Olympian, a two-time silver medalist (2000, 2004), and was named the 1992 Australian International Player of the Year. In her time with the national team, she was a teammate of current Mercury forward Penny Taylor. The shooting guard finished her professional playing career with a five-year run in the WNBA, playing for Detroit (1998-99), Miami (2001-02) and Seattle (2003). Brondello was selected as a reserve to the WNBA All-Star Game in 1999.
Below are the voting results for 2014 WNBA Coach of the Year Award as well as a list of past recipients:
2014 WNBA COACH OF THE YEAR RESULTS
|33||Sandy Brondello||Phoenix Mercury|
|2||Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx|
|2||Mike Thibault||Washington Mystics|
|1||Michael Cooper||Atlanta Dream|
WNBA COACH OF THE YEAR WINNERS
|2014||Sandy Brondello||Phoenix Mercury|
|2013||Mike Thibault||Washington Mystics|
|2012||Carol Ross||Los Angeles Sparks|
|2011||Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx|
|2010||Brian Agler||Seattle Storm|
|2009||Marynell Meadors||Atlanta Dream|
|2008||Mike Thibault||Connecticut Sun|
|2007||Dan Hughes||San Antonio Silver Stars|
|2006||Mike Thibault||Connecticut Sun|
|2005||John Whisenant||Sacramento Monarchs|
|2004||Suzie McConnell-Serio||Minnesota Lynx|
|2003||Bill Laimbeer||Detroit Shock|
|2002||Marianne Stanley||Washington Mystics|
|2001||Dan Hughes||Cleveland Rockers|
|2000||Michael Cooper||Los Angeles Sparks|
|1999||Van Chancellor||Houston Comets|
|1998||Van Chancellor||Houston Comets|
|1997||Van Chancellor||Houston Comets|