SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Silver Stars today announced that Dan Hughes will step aside as head coach to assume a full-time general manager role and subsequently named Sandy Brondello, his long-time assistant, as head coach of the Silver Stars. Olaf Lange, Brondello’s husband and assistant coach under Hughes, has been named associate head coach.Hughes’ decision to step aside as head coach will allow him to focus his efforts full-time on scouting, player development and building a core group of players through a hands-on, strategic role as general manager. He will continue to mentor and serve as an advisor and support system for Brondello, in addition to remaining active in the San Antonio community.
“I am proud to announce Sandy Brondello as the new Silver Stars Head Coach,” said General Manager Dan Hughes. “She was an All-Star player both in the WNBA and on the world stage and she has been an invaluable piece to the growth of the Silver Stars over the past five years as an assistant coach. I have been fortunate to have had great assistant coaches as well as players over the past ten years, but perhaps the greatest gratification for me has been to watch them develop into head coaches.
“Sandy will be my fourth assistant coach to become a head coach in the WNBA. Her evolution from player to coach over the past five years has been unlike any other I have seen. She is an effective teacher of the game, relates to the professional player and is ready to lead a team of her own. Along with Olaf Lange as associate head coach, the Silver Stars family is in great hands. I will do all I can as general manager to compliment this wonderful staff.”
In five years at the helm of the Silver Stars, Hughes led the team to three playoff appearances, two Western Conference Finals – including one Western Conference title – and one WNBA Final. He has collected the third most wins in WNBA history and also is the winningest coach in the history of both San Antonio and the Cleveland Rockers.
Hughes is the only coach in WNBA history to take three different franchises to the playoffs: San Antonio, Cleveland and Charlotte. He guided the 2008 Silver Stars to a 24-10 mark, earning the best record in the league and the franchise’s first Western Conference title and its first trip to the WNBA Finals. As evidence of his success, he has been named Coach of the Year – most recently in 2007 – or finished as runner-up four times.
Hughes is a member of the five-person USA Basketball Selection Committee for the 2010 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics while also serving as a member of the selection committee for the Kay Yow Award.
Brondello served as Hughes’ lead assistant coach for five years (2005-2009). In 2008, she helped San Antonio win its first Western Conference Championship and earn its first trip to the WNBA Finals.
A WNBA veteran, she played five seasons with the Seattle Storm (2003), Miami Sol (2001-02) and the Detroit Shock (1998-99). During her five-year career, Brondello started in 146 of 155 games, averaging 11.4 points, 2.3 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 29.6 minutes per game. She ranks fourth all-time in the WNBA in three-point shooting as she connected on 41.0 percent (114-278) of her shots from beyond the arc; additionally, she ranks ninth all-time in free-throw shooting with an 85.4 percent (316-370) success rate. In 1999, she was selected to play in the inaugural WNBA All-Star Game.
“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to be the next head coach of the Silver Stars,” said Brondello. “I would like to thank the organization and especially Dan Hughes in having faith in my ability to lead our team forward alongside my husband, Olaf Lange. We will be working hard to continue to provide a winning team, to which our fans have grown accustomed.”
A native of Australia, Brondello played for the Australian National Team for 18 years and is a four-time Olympian. She is a two-time silver medalist (2000 and 2004) and took home a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She also represented Australia at the 1988 Olympics. In 1992, Brondello was named the Australian International Player of the Year. She helped Australia bring home the bronze medal from both the 1998 and 2002 FIBA World Championships. Brondello also competed at the 1994 and 1990 World Championships and the 1990 Goodwill Games.
Prior to playing in the WNBA, Brondello played in the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) in Australia from 1986-96, where she was selected as a WNBL All-Star in 1994 and 1995 in addition to being named WNBL MVP in 1995. She also played in Germany for BTV Wuppertal from 1992-2002. Brondello served as the team captain for Wuppertal from 1993-97 and helped the team win 10 German Cup Championships. In 1996, Brondello was named the European Cup MVP after leading Wuppertal to the European Cup title. In addition to her MVP honors, Brondello was named a European Cup All-Star in 1994, 1996 and 1997.
Brondello earned a degree in teaching from the University of Western Sydney in 1990. She and Lange have a 3-year-old son, Brody Max Lange, and they are expecting their second child this spring.