Mercury Name Ann Meyers Drysdale New GM
One of the true pioneers in women’s basketball, Hall of Famer and award-winning broadcaster Ann Meyers Drysdale starts a new venture as general manager of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. In addition, she has been named a Vice President with the Phoenix Suns.
“The timing in my life couldn’t be better. Broadcasting has been a great career, but (Suns Managing Partner) Robert Sarver has offered me the right opportunity at the right time,” said Meyers Drysdale.
“I’m ready to compete again and be a part of this franchise, taking us back to the playoffs, and ultimately to a championship. It’s an incredible opportunity to work with this ownership, Coach (Paul) Westhead and the special players that are here.”
Enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. as a player in 1993, Meyers' basketball resume spans over four decades after becoming the first high school player ever to make a United States National Team in 1974.
“Ann is someone that has great integrity and a Hall of Fame resume. I believe she will do an excellent job leading this franchise forward,” said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver. “We want to have success on and off the court, but ultimately we want to win a championship and that’s what we’re setting out to do.”
As an amateur, Meyers was the first woman to receive a full athletic scholarship from UCLA. The UCLA basketball legend was a four-time Kodak All-American, the first male or female to achieve that honor. Upon graduation, Meyers held 12 of 13 school records and led the Bruins to a national championship in 1978. Meyers, who was the first female to be named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame and had her jersey No. 15 retired, also competed in volleyball and won a national championship in track in 1975.
An outstanding all-around player, the 5-9 guard represented the United States in the 1976 Olympics, 1975 and ’79 Pan American Games and the 1975 and ’79 World Championships. She earned a silver medal as part of the first women’s US Olympic Basketball team at the Montreal Games in 1976.
Meyers, 51, remains the only female ever to sign a free-agent contract with an NBA team when she signed with the Indiana Pacers in 1979. After being released by the Pacers, she provided color commentary for Pacers broadcasts at a time when women in sports media were rare.
The first player drafted in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) in 1978, Meyers resumed her playing career for the New Jersey Gems, where she was named MVP after leading the league in steals and averaging 22.2 points.
Most recently, Meyers has established herself as an expert analyst on ESPN, NBC and CBS and has done commentary for men’s and women’s basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball and soccer since 1979. A frequent contributor to WNBA.com, she recently wrote a blog chronicling the 2006 WNBA Finals. Meyer’s incredible sports journalism contributions were recently honored as the 2006 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s (USSA) Ronald Reagan Media Award, joining an elite group of winners that includes Howard Cosell, Bob Costas, Keith Jackson, Frank Deford and Rupert Murdoch.
In her new role of general manager, Meyers will be in charge of all basketball operations, including player procurement, scheduling, and management of the league’s salary cap.
Meyers has five sisters and five brothers, including brother Dave Meyers, who also played college basketball at UCLA, under legendary coach John Wooden and won two NCAA Championships with teammate Bill Walton. He played four seasons (1975-80) for the Milwaukee Bucks after being one of four players traded from the Los Angeles Lakers for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975.
In 1986, she married former Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale and took the name Ann Meyers Drysdale. It was the first time that a married couple were members of their respective sports’ Hall of Fame. The Southern Californian native and Drysdale, who passed away in 1993, have three children together: son Don Jr., daughter Drew and son Darren.