Former Mercury coach Sandy Brondello hired to lead Liberty

Jan 7, 2022, 10:15 AM
Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello gestures during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's...

Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello gestures during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's WNBA Finals against the Chicago Sky, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, in Phoenix. The New York Liberty hired Sandy Brondello to be their new coach Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Liberty hired Sandy Brondello as their new coach Friday, bringing her on after a successful run in Phoenix.

Brondello led the Mercury to the WNBA Finals this year, and then parted ways with the team in the offseason. She had a 150-108 record in eight seasons with Phoenix, making the playoffs every year.

“Sandy brings a wealth of coaching experience and is a proven winner with a championship pedigree, both as a player and coach in the WNBA and internationally,” Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said. “Throughout her longstanding professional coaching career, she has demonstrated her ability to build consistent and sustained success as a skilled leader and mentor on and off the court. We are thrilled to welcome her to New York as we move forward in our pursuit of winning a WNBA championship.”

She replaces Walt Hopkins who left the Liberty last month after helping the team reach the playoffs. New York lost to Brondello’s Mercury in the first round on a last-second shot. Phoenix went on to the Finals before losing to Chicago in four games.

“It is an honor to join the historic New York Liberty franchise and to coach and lead such a talented roster of players,” Brondello said. “I owe immense gratitude to the team’s ownership and front office for entrusting me with this important role during such an integral time in the history of the organization.”

Brondello inherits a roster with a lot of young talent, including Sabrina Ionescu, last season’s Rookie of the Year Michaela Onyenwere and Betnijah Laney.

“We are excited to have Sandy join us,” Liberty owners Clara Wu Tsai and Joe Tsai said in a statement. “We ran a thorough search process for the next head coach, and when we met with Sandy in New York, we knew she would bring not only her wealth of experience but also her passion for elevating our star players and developing our young core.”

Brondello was the league’s Coach of the Year in 2014. She also played five seasons in the WNBA from 1998 to 2003.

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Former Mercury coach Sandy Brondello hired to lead Liberty