PHOENIX – One of the greatest players in Phoenix Mercury history, three-time WNBA Champion Penny Taylor has been named an assistant on head coach Sandy Brondello’s staff, the team announced today. Taylor, who was the team’s Director of Player Development and Performance in 2017, did not coach in 2018 after becoming a mother. She will now move to the front bench alongside 14-year assistant coach Julie Hairgrove on the Mercury’s three-coach staff.
“We always want Penny Taylor involved with our team, and we are thrilled that she will return as an assistant coach in 2019,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “Penny understands the game as well as anyone associated with our league from an X-and-O standpoint and from the perspective of a player who competed at the highest levels for nearly two decades. We are excited about the opportunity to add another strong female voice, and to grow the pool of former WNBA players in the coaching ranks.”
Taylor and wife Diana Taurasi are the only players who were part of all three Mercury championship teams (2007, 2009, 2014), and she spent 10 of her 13 career seasons playing in Phoenix. Following her retirement in 2016, Taylor oversaw the on-court development and skill-training of Mercury players in 2017 when the team put her retired number in the rafters.
During a decorated 13-year WNBA career, Taylor earned three WNBA All-Star berths, was a two-time All-WNBA First Team selection, and finished her career as the Mercury’s third all-time leading scorer (3,587), and second in both assists (861) and steals (370). In recognition of her outstanding basketball career, Taylor became the fifth Mercury legend retired to the rafters on July 9, 2017.
Taylor was a three-time Olympian with Australia, where she led the team to two silver medals, and led her home country to the 2006 World Championship, where she was named the tournament MVP.
Taylor was part of the biggest offseason in franchise history prior to the start of the 2004 season. After finishing with the league’s worst record in 2003, the Mercury earned the top pick in the Cleveland Rockers dispersal draft, a selection that was used on Taylor. Phoenix won the WNBA Draft Lottery and the right to select Taurasi, the UCONN standout, with the first overall pick.
After coming within one win of trip to the WNBA Finals, the Phoenix Mercury return in 2019 in search of a league-record tying fourth WNBA title. Led by the All-Star trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix opens its title quest on May 25 at Seattle on ABC. Tickets for Fry’s Food Stores Opening Night on Friday, May 31, at Talking Stick Resort Arena can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.
UPDATE: Mercury have also hired franchise legend Jennifer Gillom as the team’s Player Development Coach.