January 20, 2024
How new assistant coaches Megan Vogel and Michael Joiner fit the Phoenix Mercury
Neither has WNBA coaching experience, but they could fit head coach Nate Tibbetts' style of play
Vogel and Joiner do not have any WNBA coaching experience, which follows a similar pattern as the Tibbetts and Toliver hires. Tibbetts has had multiple stops as an NBA assistant coach and has head coaching experience in the NBA G League. Toliver just wrapped up a lengthy WNBA playing career, but her coaching experience comes in the NBA.
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Vogel is in her 11th season with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball program and will join the Mercury after the college season is complete. During the 2022-23 season, she was named associate head coach. She has helped the Phoenix to four NCAA Tournament appearances and four Horizon League championships.
“I would like to thank the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and [head coach] Kevin Borseth for the knowledge and experiences I gained over the previous 11 years that [have] afforded me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Vogel said in Green Bay’s press release.
Borseth expressed gratitude for the time Vogel has spent with the program.
“How exciting for Megan to start this unique opportunity,” Borseth said in the release. “She has invested a great deal into our program, and we are better off because of it. The Green Bay tree roots run deep and its branches wide. Our players, and now a coach, get the opportunity to move onto the next level. Green Bay Basketball is very well entrenched in our region and this adds a national perspective to the far-reaching impact of our program.”
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Joiner has been an assistant coach with the G League’s Memphis Hustle since 2019. Prior to his coaching career, he had a lengthy professional playing career. One of his stops as a player was the Sioux Falls Skyforce when Tibbetts was the head coach.
“In six years, from faith-led beginnings to gratitude, I’m excited to join Phoenix Mercury as an assistant coach, thankful for my journey with Memphis Grizzlies and Hustle,” Joiner said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Ready for The Valley!”
At his introductory press conference, Tibbetts said he hopes the Mercury shoot “a lot” of 3-pointers. If he indeed has the Mercury run an offense centered around shooting threes, Joiner and Vogel make sense as assistant coach hires.
This season, the Hustle are tied for seventh out of 31 NBA G League teams in 3-pointers attempted per game. They shoot 41 per game and make them at a 35.4% clip, which puts them in the top half of the league in 3-point percentage. And Green Bay ranks No. 2 in the Horizon League in 3-point percentage this season, shooting 35.2%.
However, Tibbetts also said in his introductory press conference that he has to grow in his WNBA knowledge, but he has not hired any coaches who can guide him through what being a WNBA coach is all about. As Her Hoop Stats’ Richard Cohen put it on X, these are “experienced coaches, but not WNBA-experienced.”
The Mercury declined The Next‘s requests to speak to Vogel, Joiner, Tibbetts or general manager Nick U’Ren for this article.
Related reading: 2024 WNBA free agency preview: Phoenix Mercury
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Written by Jesse Morrison
Jesse Morrison covers the Phoenix Mercury for The Next. A native of Roanoke, Va., Jesse moved to Arizona in 2017 to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, graduating in 2021 with a degree in sports journalism. Outside of The Next, Jesse works for Arizona Sports, co-hosting an Arizona State podcast, producing a radio show and writing for their website.