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Sparks hire Joe 'Jelly bean' Bryant, Sandy Brondello as assistant coaches

March 11, 2011 | 11:11 am

Bry_240 The Sparks hired Joe Bryant and Sandy Brondello as assistant coaches, the team announced Friday.

Bryant was first hired by the team as an assistant coach under Henry Bibby in 2005. He was promoted to head coach with five games remaining in the season and went 4-1 while the Sparks finished with a 17-17 record.

He returned as head coach in 2006, and led the team to a 25-9 record and an appearance in the Western Conference finals. Most recently, Bryant, the father of Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, has been coaching Rera Kamuy Hokkaido, a Japanese first division men’s team.

Brondello was an assistant coach for the San Antonio Silver Stars from 2005-09, and was head coach of the team last season, leading them to the Western Conference semifinals.

Bryant and Brondello will work under head coach Jennifer Gillom, who led the Sparks to a 13-21 record in her first season at the helm of the team in 2010.

“I feel we’ve assembled a strong and diverse coaching staff, one that complements our talented roster and can guide the Sparks to a WNBA title in 2011,” General Manager Penny Toler said in a statement. “Jennifer, Joe and Sandy are all exceptionally skilled in both player development and game management and are excited to begin working together.”

-- Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Joe Bryant talks to Lisa Leslie in 2006. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times.