PHOENIX — The Mercury have hired former Las Vegas Aces assistant coach Vanessa Nygaard as their next head coach, a league source confirmed to ESPN.
A formal announcement is expected to come Monday.
Nygaard replaces Sandy Brondello, whose contract expired after the 2021 season and who was hired as the New York Liberty’s head coach in early January.
Nygaard has experience coaching at the professional, college, prep and international levels.
Nygaard, 46, spent the 2021 WNBA season as an assistant to Bill Laimbeer in Las Vegas, which lost in the WNBA semifinals to Phoenix. She is also a high school head coach at Windward School in Los Angeles, where she has won three California state titles. Among her top players there was current Seattle Storm guard Jordin Canada, who starred collegiately at UCLA.
A native of Scottsdale, Arizona, Nygaard played collegiately at Stanford and went to the Final Four three times with the Cardinal from 1995 through 1997. She played five seasons in the WNBA before going into coaching as an assistant at Long Beach State and then with Pepperdine.
Nygaard then moved to the WNBA and was an assistant for San Antonio in 2008, when the Stars went to the WNBA Finals. She spent the next season as an assistant with the Washington Mystics before going to the high school ranks as a head coach.
News of Nygaard’s hire was first reported by The Athletic.
ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel contributed to this report.