Grandmama is the new Sparks coach

Fresh from the MVP hot wire:


LOS ANGELES – Hall of Famer Jennifer Gillom has been named head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks as announced today by Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

“Jennifer is a great person who I believe will be an exceptional coach in the WNBA,” said Toler. “Her experience as a player and as a coach will prove to be beneficial in her future success here. I believe that she will be able to lead our team into the next era of championship Sparks basketball.”

After serving as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Lynx in 2008, Gillom took over as interim head coach of the Lynx in 2009. Earlier this year, she was elected into the illustrious Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and, in September, was named an assistant coach for the 2010 USA Basketball Women’s World Championship Team.

“I am extremely excited to return to the city of Los Angeles and begin this new journey as head coach of the Sparks,” said Gillom. “This is a storied franchise with a championship caliber team. I look forward to being part of the future success and am eager to continue building the Sparks legacy.”

Gillom began her coaching career with the girls’ basketball team at Xavier College Preparatory, a private school in Phoenix, Arizona where she has compiled a 130-25 record after five seasons.

One of the first players signed by the WNBA, she played seven seasons in the league, including six with the Phoenix Mercury, where she led them to three playoff berths (1997, 1998, 2000), which included a trip to the 1998 WNBA Finals. After playing her final season with the Sparks, Gillom retired from the WNBA with career averages of 13.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Her best season in the WNBA was 1998, when she closed out the season with career-high averages of 20.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Gillom received the WNBA’s 2002 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, was selected to the 1999 All-Star team and was named to the 1997 All-WNBA first team and 1998 All-WNBA second team. In 1985 she was named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. She also collected a total of six gold medals, including the gold at the 1988 Olympics and one silver medal as a member of USA Basketball.

The WNBA legend and Abbeville, Mississippi native becomes the eighth head coach in Los Angeles Sparks franchise history.

Tickets for the Sparks 2010 season are on sale now. For more information visit or call 1-877-44-SPARKS.

Not sure how I feel about this yet.


  1. Great question!

    Especially given what we've seen recently, I'd like to see a pro-active, intelligent coach who's able to strategize and make adjustments based on the flow of the game and the opponent. If the Sparks are able to get another big besides Parker, and if Parker is even there (I've heard rumors to the contrary), then they need a strong high-low game. The Sparks also need a coach who can teach them some defense.

    Can Gillom do these things? I don't know. Her only coaching experience before the WNBA was at the high school level, and I'm still wondering why the Lynx didn't keep her as head coach.

    What do you think, Q?

  2. regarding jen, from a poster at rebkell:

    "Gillom's resume as the Lynx head coach includes allowing the highest field goal and three point percentage."


    but i'm more intrigued by your comment about parker might not be around next year. do you mean in l.a. specifically or in the w at all? do tell, dear sass. 🙂


  3. I've heard that she's finally going to have shoulder surgery, which will take her out of commission for the Sparks next year. I have no idea if it's true, but that's what I've heard.

  4. Woops — just getting back to this!

    I agree that Gillom is really an unknown commodity at this point.

    People who judge her based on last year seem to be ignoring that she unexpectedly took over the team just before the first game of the reg season, then lost an Olympian, and still had the team playing very well for about half a season.

  5. [continued…]

    I think when you look at how well both Houston and Anosike played under her that bodes well for the Sparks in terms of establishing a post game and working with Parker, who's more of a transcendent talent, but would certainly benefit from someone who knows how to exploit her talents for high percentage shots…

    Will be a great story to follow!

    (And hopefully Parker does what's best for her future as a player even if it means us fans have to wait one more year to follow her development…)