Mercury find new head coach in Nate Tibbetts, ESPN reports

Oct 16, 2023, 5:52 PM

Nate Tibbetts...

Assistant Coach Nate Tibbetts and Jalen Suggs #4 of the Orlando Magic watch video during a shoot around before a game against the Chicago Bulls on November 18, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

(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 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.

Phoenix Mercury

Brittney Griner...

Arizona Sports

Mercury’s Brittney Griner partners with ESPN, Disney for documentary projects

Mercury star Brittney Griner has partnered with Disney to produce a documentary feature from ESPN Films, among other projects.

6 hours ago

Caitlin Clark of Iowa drives against Iowa State...

Arizona Sports

Sophie Cunningham, Mercury hope to win Caitlin Clark sweepstakes in WNBA Draft Lottery

Caitlin Clark would be a welcome addition to the Phoenix Mercury if she departs Iowa and enters the 2024 WNBA Draft.

12 hours ago

Kristi Toliver looks on during Game Four of the 2019 WNBA Finals between the Washington Mystics and...

David Veenstra

Phoenix Mercury hire Kristi Toliver as associate head coach

The Phoenix Mercury named three-time WNBA All-Star and former NBA assistant Kristi Toliver as associate head coach Friday.

6 days ago

Arizona Diamondbacks...

Kevin Zimmerman

5 things Arizona sports fans can be thankful for in 2023

We hope the vibes at your Thanksgiving table, big or small, are good ones. The vibes out there in the Arizona sports universe? Pretty good.

15 days ago

Team USA...

Aaron Schmidt

Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi aim for spot on US roster prior to 2024 Olympics

Mercury teammates Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi are on the 16-player roster for Team USA's training camp prior to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

1 month ago

Mercury find new head coach in Nate Tibbetts, ESPN reports