Mercury find new head coach in Nate Tibbetts, ESPN reports
Oct 16, 2023, 5:52 PM
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Phoenix Mercury have reportedly found their new coach.
The team is reportedly finalizing a deal with Orlando Magic assistant Nate Tibbetts, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Tibbetts has been on Jamahl Mosley’s bench his entire tenure in Orlando.
ESPN Sources: Orlando Magic assistant Nate Tibbetts is finalizing a deal to become the new head coach of the Phoenix Mercury. Tibbetts — who’s also been an assistant with Portland and Cleveland — will become the highest paid coach in WNBA history. pic.twitter.com/4GTw8zsTvW
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 16, 2023
ESPN sources report that Tibbetts will become the highest-paid coach in WNBA history once the contract is signed. The Las Vegas Aces’ Becky Hammon was the highest-paid WNBA coach after signing a $1 million per year contract in February 2022, the largest in WNBA history.
Tibbetts has been an assistant coach and associate head coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers and Magic.
Arizona native Nick U’Ren, who was hired as the Mercury’s general manager in July from the Golden State Warriors, and team CEO Josh Bartelstein were tasked with the coaching search, according to ESPN’s Wojnarowski.
Phoenix finished the season 9-31 overall and failed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2012. Tibbetts will take over for Nikki Blue, who led the Mercury to a 7-21 record after taking over for Vanessa Nygaard. Nygaard was let go in late June after the team started 2-10. Superstars Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi missed plenty of time in 2023, as Griner only played 31 of 40 games, while Taurasi played 26.
This is another significant move for the Mercury after owner Mat Ishbia recently announced that he is investing over $100 million into a new practice facility and downtown headquarters in Phoenix for the Suns and Mercury.