Penny Toler is entering her 20th season as the general manager of the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA team. Under her leadership, the Sparks have won three WNBA championships and have qualified for the playoffs a record 18 times. She is the winningest and longest tenured general manager in WNBA history and is the first female athlete to have her jersey retired in Staples Center.
Toler began her Sparks tenure as a player during the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997, scoring the first basket in league history on June 21, 1997 against the New York Liberty. In 1999, Toler took over as general manager, and the team went on to win back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002 as part of a string of eight straight playoff berths from 1999-2007.
As a student at Long Beach State, Toler set records for career assists and career free-throws, was a member of two Final Four teams, and earned numerous player-of-the-year honors. Her collegiate career was recognized with her induction into the LBSU Hall of Fame in 1995 and a jersey retirement ceremony in 2007.
Outside of the WNBA, Toler’s “Points from Penny” program taught youth in Los Angeles and Las Vegas the fundamentals of basketball and the importance of teamwork. Toler now sits on the Long Beach State Advisory Committee for the sports management program as well as the WNBA Labor Relations Committee, which will negotiate the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Toler’s hobbies include going to the movies, getting interior design tips from HGTV and working with underprivileged youth. Raised in Washington D.C. with three brothers and four sisters, Toler currently resides in Los Angeles.