Phoenix loses two top leaders

Publisher
October 19, 2013 - 6:57am
Phoenix interim coach Russ Pennell will return to the college ranks. (Photo by Lee Michaelson)

Phoenix interim coach Russ Pennell will return to the college ranks. (Photo by Lee Michaelson)

The Phoenix Mercury lost two key members of their management team in a two-day span, as interim head coach Russ Pennell opted to return to college coaching and president Amber Cox resigned.

Pennell, who replaced the fired Corey Gaines Aug. 8, announced Friday that he had decided not to return.

“I just wanted to stay in college basketball,” Pennell told Arizona Central on Friday. “I had a great time with the Mercury. They treated me great from the top down. At the end of the day, my calling is in college basketball, and it was in the best interest for me and my family to pursue some other things.”

Pennell was 11-7 as head coach, including a three-game playoff victory over the L.A. Sparks that pushed Phoenix to the Western Conference Finals, where they lost to eventual champion Minnesota. The Mercury were 10-11 when he took over.

The popular Cox will move on to other opportunities after working with the organization since 2005. No specific reason was given for her departure.

Replacements have not been named for either job, but with three WNBA coaching jobs opening up in the last week, there will be some sense of urgency for the Mercury when it comes to hiring a new coach.

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