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Sparks name Hall of Famer Gillom as next coach
Hall of Famer Jennifer Gillom has been named head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks as announced Monday 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.