The Phoenix Mercury finished their coaching search and have officially announced Vanessa Nygaard as their new head coach. She will be the 10th head coach in the franchise’s history.
Introducing the new Head Coach of the three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury, Vanessa Nygaard!
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) January 24, 2022
After the 2021 season concluded with the Mercury losing in the NBA Finals to Candace Parker and the Chicago Sky, the team and former head coach Sandy Brondello decided to part ways and her contract wasn’t renewed. Since Brondello got the head coaching job of the New York Liberty and the Mercury went through their process.
“We were looking for a teacher of the game, a master tactician, and someone with the temperament to lead a roster that mixes veteran experience with youthful potential, that has championship aspirations every season. We found that coach in Vanessa, whose enthusiasm for building relationships and holding players to the highest standards separated her in this process”, said Mercury’s General Manager Jim Pitman.
Nygaard started her coaching career in 2003, while she was still playing in the WNBA, at California State University, Long Beach as an assistant coach and, later, with Pepperdine University. She also has experience in the WNBA as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Silver Stars, the Washington Mystics and, most recently, with the Las Vegas Aces.
Her first job as a head coach was with the women’s team of Windward School where she won three state titles.
“I am grateful to Robert Sarver and Jim Pitman for the opportunity to join this great organization and lead this team,” said Nygaard on a statement. “This is an organization that has set the standard on and off the court in the WNBA for 25 years. When I looked at the commitment to winning here, the resources from ownership, the partnership with the Suns, and the roster in place, I knew this was where I wanted to be. The goal here is to win championships, and I look forward to getting this team back to the top of the WNBA mountain.”
The Mercury will start the season on May 6 at Footprint Center against the Aces.