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Monday, July 11, 2011
Los Angeles and Tulsa get new head coaches

By Sarah Spain

For two WNBA teams, the losing had gone on long enough.

Penny Toler, general manager for the Los Angeles Sparks, announced the firing of head coach Jennifer Gillom on Sunday night, replacing her with Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, Kobe Bryant's father. Under Gillom's watch the Sparks had lost five straight games -- moving to 4-6 on the year and dropping to fifth in the Western Conference. In her two-year tenure as head coach, Gillom had a combined record of 17-27, though she was often forced to play with a depleted roster due to injuries.

Bryant knows the team well, as he has been an assistant or head coach with the Sparks off and on since 2005. An assistant coach since March, Bryant will get back in the saddle as the head man this Tuesday, looking to halt to his team's five-game skid.

On Friday, Nolan Richardson formally resigned as general manager and head coach of the Shock, leaving his team in tremendous turmoil, but likely better off. Richardson led the team to a 1-10 start this year and a dismal 7-38 record in just over one season at the helm. He was replaced on an interim basis by Teresa Edwards, who has been working as the team's director of player personnel. Sunday was a rough first day for Edwards, as the Shock were routed by the Mercury 102-63. Phoenix drained its first 11 shots, a new WNBA record.

Bryant and Edwards have their work cut out for them, taking on teams who seem to have forgotten how to win. You have to wonder if Washington's Trudi Lacey is next, as her team is 2-8 on the year, occupying the Eastern Conference cellar.