|Role:||WNBA Pheonix Mercury Head Coach|
Sandra Anne “Sandy” Brondello (born 20 August 1968) is an Australian women’s basketball coach, and the current coach of the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA. Brondello played in Australia and the WNBA before retiring to become a coach. The 1.70 m (5’7″) Brondello is one of Australia’s all-time best shooting guards. She played on Australia’s “Opals” national team at four Summer Olympics, and won three medals (one bronze, two silvers). She attended the Australian Institute of Sport in 1986-1987 and was inducted to the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Brondello grew up in Mackay, Queensland, where her parents had a sugar cane farm. At the age of 9, she started to play basketball in a grass court her father built in the backyard. Brondello’s career began in Australia’s Women’s National Basketball League, where she was named the Australian Basketball Player of the Year in 1992. Brondello played for 10 seasons in the WNBL, reaching the playoffs on three occasions and being named Most Valuable Player in 1995 as a member of the Brisbane Blazers. She also played between 1992 and 2002 in Germany for BTV Wuppertal, winning ten national championships and the 1995–96 FIBA Women’s European Champions Cup.
Brondello started her WNBA career in 1998 by being selected in the fourth round (34th overall) by the newly formed Detroit Shock, becoming an All-Star in the first WNBA All-Star same in 1999. She was selected by the Indiana Fever in late 1999’sexpansion draft, but never played a game for them, being traded to the Miami Sol along with a first-round pick for Stephanie McCarty. After sitting out of the 2002 season due to a foot injury playing for Wuppertal during the WNBA offseason,Brondello signed as a free agent with the Seattle Storm in 2003, joining fellow Australians Lauren Jackson and Tully Bevilaqua. Brondello was one of the top three-point shooters in league history, her .410 percentage ranking fourth all-time.
On the Australian National Team, Brondello joined the team before the age of 18 and remained on the Opals for 17 years, and her 302 games made Brondello the third most capped Australian player, behind Robyn Maher and Karen Dalton. Brondello’s tournaments with Australia include four World Championships, with two bronze medals, and four Olympic tournaments, with two silver medals and a bronze. Twice she sat out of the WNBA due to Olympic commitments, in 2000 and 2004.The 2004 tournament in Athens turned out to be Brondello’s last major event, with her afterwards investing in a coaching career.
In 2005, Brondello was named an assistant coach of the San Antonio Silver Stars. She was promoted to head coach in February 2010.
In 2009 Brondello was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame.
Brondello and her husband, associate head coach Olaf Lange, were fired by the Silver Stars in September 2010. Brondello finished her only season as head coach with a 14-20 record, third best in the Western Conference. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Phoenix two games to none. General manager Dan Hughes regained the title of head coach in January 2011, returning to the dual role he held before promoting Brondello. Brondello would become an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Sparks for the 2011 season.
In November 2013, Brondello was hired by Phoenix to replace interim coach Russ Pennell.
In 2014, Brondellos team went on to win the WNBA Title.