New Mercury and Suns owner Mat Ishbia continues to put his imprint on his franchises.
The morning after the Mercury lost another game to the Storm, dropping to a 2-10 overall record and still in last place, the team announced that it has parted ways with head coach Vanessa Nygaard.
Nygaard held a 17-31 record in her first tenure at the helm of a franchise, including last season, where she led the Mercury to the playoffs for a league-leading 10th straight year.
She also had to captain a ship through the rocky waters of Brittney Griner’s wrongful detainment in Russia as a dark cloud followed the team everywhere they went last season.
Phoenix has elevated lead assistant caoch Nikki Blue to interim head coach for the remainder of the 2023 season.
“We have chosen to make a change at head coach,” Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman said. “We thank Vanessa Nygaard for the way she endured and managed the adversity of the last year-plus. Our organization and our fans have high expectations for this team, and we have not reached those with our performance this year. We have confidence in the job Nikki Blue will do as interim head coach.”
Blue has a combined 15 years of coaching expererience in the WNBA and collegiate ball, including three seasons under Charli Turner Thorne at Arizona State.
As a player, Blue was drafted 19th overall out of UCLA and played for five years with the Mystics and Liberty.
Mercury parts ways with Head Coach Vanessa Nygaard, names Nikki Blue Interim Head Coach for the remainder of 2023 season. pic.twitter.com/bYdPEX7V7W
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) June 25, 2023