Phoenix Mercury add Gillom, Taylor to coaching staff

The Phoenix Mercury have added Jennifer Gillom and Penny Taylor to its coaching staff for the upcoming season.

Coach Gillom, who is the head coach at Xavier College Preparatory and former Phoenix Mercury player, will join the team as a player development coach. Coach Taylor, also a former Mercury player, will join as an assistant coach, according to a press release.

Phoenix Mercury Player Development Coach Jennifer Gillom (Submitted photo)

Coach Gillom will continue to serve as the girls basketball head coach at Xavier, where she guided the team to state runners-up in this year’s 6A state playoffs. She was head coach from 2004-09, returned as an assistant coach for the 2016-17 season before taking over this year.

As Phoenix’s Player Development Coach, Gillom will oversee the on-court development and skill-training of Mercury players, and work in concert with head coach Sandy Brondello and assistant coaches Julie Hairgrove and Coach Taylor.

Coach Gillom’s on-court work will begin with the Mercury’s 2019 training camp this May.

“On and off the court, the Mercury is where it is today thanks in part to Jen Gillom, and we are excited to welcome her back,” Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman said in a prepared statement.

“To be able to add a coach of Jen’s experience and a former post player of her caliber in the role of player development, especially after using two of our top draft picks on young forwards, is something we expect to be very beneficial. And, of course, the X-Factor’s love for her is an added bonus.”

Coach Gillom played with the team for six seasons after she was allocated to the Mercury at the league’s inception in 1997. Her jersey hangs from the rafters.

During her six years in a Mercury jersey, she averaged 15.3 points per game and 5 rebounds per game in 183 career games from 1997-2002 and helped lead the franchise to playoff appearances in three of its first four seasons, including a berth in the 1998 WNBA Finals.
She was a two-time All-WNBA Team member (1998 First Team), a 1999 WNBA All-Star, and the league’s 2002 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award winner.

Phoenix Mercury Assistant Coach Penny Taylor (Submitted photo)

Coach Taylor, who was the team’s director of player development and performance in 2017, did not coach in 2018 after becoming a mother.

“We always want Penny Taylor involved with our team, and we are thrilled that she will return as an assistant coach in 2019,” Mr. Pitman said.

“Penny understands the game as well as anyone associated with our league from an X-and-O standpoint and from the perspective of a player who competed at the highest levels for nearly two decades. We are excited about the opportunity to add another strong female voice, and to grow the pool of former WNBA players in the coaching ranks.”

Coach Taylor, who spent 10 of her 13 seasons with the Mercury, won three championships with the Mercury during her playing career. She and her wife Dianna Taurausi are the only Mercury players to be on all three championship teams.

Following her retirement in 2016, Coach Taylor oversaw the on-court development and skill-training of Mercury players in 2017 when the team put her retired number in the rafters.

During her 13-year WNBA career, she earned three WNBA All-Star berths, two All-WNBA First Team selections and finished her career as the Mercury’s third all-time leading scorer as well as second in both assists and steals.

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