In NBA history, there have been 15 women to have served as assistant coaches.
After her single-season stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, no women were hired as assistant coaches in the NBA for over a decade. Then, in 2014, WNBA legend Becky Hammon broke the shackles when she joined the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 offseason.
In fact, 12 of the 15 women to have served as female assistants in the NBA history have been hired after 2017.
During the 2019-20 season, there were a record 11 women serving as female assistant coaches with various NBA franchises. That number has dipped to seven heading into the landmark 75th anniversary season.
Here's a look at all of those 15 female assistant coaches:
|Assistant coach||NBA Career||Current NBA team||Former NBA team (if any)|
|Jenny Boucek||2017 - Present||Indiana Pacers||Dallas Mavericks (2018-21), Sacramento Kings (2017-18)|
|Lisa Boyer||2001-02||-||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Brittni Donaldson||2019-20||-||Toronto Raptors (2019-20)|
|Lindsay Gottlieb||2019-21||-||Cleveland Cavaliers (2019-21)|
|Becky Hammon||2014 - Present||San Antonio Spurs|
|Lindsey Harding||2018 - Present||Sacramento Kings||Philadelphia 76ers (2018-19)|
|Niele Ivey||2019-20||Memphis Grizzlies (2019-20)|
|Kara Lawson||2019-20||-||Boston Celtics (2019-20)|
|Nancy Lieberman||2015-18||-||Sacramento Kings (2015-18)|
|Natalie Nakase||2018-20||-||LA Clippers|
|Kristi Toliver||2018 - Present||Dallas Mavericks||Washington Wizards (2018-21)|
|Karen Stack Umlauf||2018 - 20||-||Chicago Bulls (2018-2020)|
|Teresa Weatherspoon||2019 - Present||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Sonia Raman||2020 - Present||Memphis Grizzlies|
|2021 - Present||Portland Trail Blazers|
Here are some interesting notes and fast facts on all of these 15 women:
Boyer was the first-ever woman hired as an assistant coach in the NBA, back in 2001 after over two decades worth of coaching experience in women's college basketball. She transitioned back to college hoops after the lone season.
Jenny Boucek, Indiana Pacers
A career-ending back injury limited Jenny Boucek to just one season of professional season in the WNBA (1997) after which she immediately transitioned to coaching.
Beginning in 1999, Boucek has over 18 years of coaching experience in the WNBA (four as a head coach). As an assistant, she was a member of two WNBA Championships with the Seattle Storm (2004, 2010).
In the NBA, she was first hired as the player development coach by the Sacramento Kings for the 2017-18 season, becoming the third woman assistant coach in NBA history. A year later, in the offseason of 2018, she was announced as the assistant coach of the Mavericks.
In the 2021 offseason, she moved to Indiana and remained with Carlisle, who after parting ways with the Mavericks signed on to become the head coach of the Pacers.
Donaldson was promoted to the Raptors coaching staff after spending the last two seasons with the franchise as a data analyst.
A native of Iowa where she played collegiate at the University of Northern Iowa from 2011 to 2015, the 26-year-old Donaldson is now the youngest assistant coach - male or female - in the NBA.
Prior to the 2019-20 season, Lindsay Gottlieb was hired as an assistant coach on a four-year contract as part of new head coach John Beilein's staff.
She has nearly two decades of coaching experience, including two head coaching stints at the University of California at Santa Barbara (2008-11) and the University of California (2011-19).
During her head coach stints, she did receive two recognitions - Big West Coach of the Year (2009) and Pac-12 Coach of the Year (2012). As a head coach, she also had three championships to her name - 2 x Big West Championship (2009,11) and Pac-12 regular-season championship (2013).
After the couple of years, she transitioned back to the University of California as the head coach.
Becky Hammon, San Antonio Spurs
After a very accomplished 15-year WNBA career, Becky Hammon joined the Spurs as an assistant coach in the offseason of 2014. That made her the second female assistant coach in NBA history and the first full-time assistant coach.
A year in, she was selected as the coach of the Spurs' Summer League squad, the first time a woman was a head coach in that league. She went on to lead the squad to the 2015 Las Vegas Summer League Championship.
At the 2016 All-Star Game, she became the first woman to be a part of an All-Star coaching staff.
During her WNBA career, Hammon received six All-Star selections and four All-WNBA selections (2 First Team, 2 Second Team). She was the assist leader in 2007 and was voted to the WNBA's Top 15 players of all-time (2011) and the Top 20@20 in 2016.
In Dec. 2020, she became the first woman in NBA history to coach a regular-season game when she took charge following Gregg Popovich's ejection in a Spurs' home game against the Lakers.
Lindsey Harding, Sacramento Kings
Lindsey Harding was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers as a scout prior to the 2018-19 season and at the end of the season, the franchise promoted her to the position of an assistant coach. Then, before the 2019-20 season, she became a player development coach with the Sacramento Kings.
A 5-year WNBA veteran, Harding had a spectacular 2007, the final year of her college career at Duke and her rookie season in the NBA.
In 2007, she received the Naismith College Player of the Year Award, the WBCA Defensive Player of the Year, the Nancy Lieberman Award, the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, ACC Player of the Year, and a WNBA All-Rookie selection.
Natalie Nakase joined the Clippers organisation in 2012 and got promoted to the position of an assistant coach in the offseason of 2018 after a year as an assistant coach of the Agua Caliente Clippers, the D-League affiliate of the LA Clippers.
In 2012, she began a year-long internship under the franchise's video coordinator. A couple of years later, she became the team's video coordinator and at the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League, she was an assistant coach for the Clippers team.
With the change in head coach from Doc Rivers to Tyronn Lue, Nakase was named the assistant coach of the franchise's D-League team Agua Caliente Clippers.
Kristi Toliver, Dallas Mavericks
Kristi Toliver was hired as a full-time assistant with the Washington Wizards before the 2018-19 season. It must be noted that unlike the other members on this list, Toliver is still active in the WNBA, representing the Washington Mystics.
After her stint with the Wizards, she joined Jason Kidd's staff in Dallas in the 2021 offseason.
A WNBA veteran of more than 10 years, she is a two-time WNBA Champion (2016 - Los Angeles Sparks; 2019 - Mystics). A three-time All-Star (2013, 2018, 2019), she was named the WNBA Most Improved Player in 2012 and also received an All-WNBA Second Team selection that year.
Karen Stack Umlauf,
Karen Stack Umlauf has spent nearly three decades in administrative roles with the Bulls' organisation but in 2018, she was named an assistant coach of the team.
From 2005 to 2019, Ivey spent 12 seasons with the coaching staff at Notre Dame. After the lone season with the Memphis Grizzlies (2019-20), she went back to women's college basketball as the head coach at Notre Dame.
After a 12-year playing career in the WNBA, Lawson joined the Boston Celtics for the 2019-20 season. She left after the one season to become the head coach of women's basketball at Duke.
Following a 12-year coaching stint in the WNBA with the Detroit Shock, Lieberman is the first woman in NBA history to coach a professional team when she was named the head coach of the Texas Legends, the Mavericks' D-League franchise, for the lone 2010-11 season.
Teresa Weatherspoon, New Orleans Pelicans
Weatherspoon is a WNBA legend as she starred for the New York Liberty beginning in 1997, the first year of the league's existence. One of the best point guards in league history, Weatherspoon ranks in WNBA history in assists per game and guided her teams to the playoffs in six of her eight seasons.
Weatherspoon made five All-Star teams and won back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1997 and 1998.
Weatherspoon is the second former WNBA star added in New Orleans. Earlier this offseason, Swin Cash was named Vice President of Basketball Operations. One of the best players in WNBA history, Cash ranks among the top 20 all-time in scoring, assists and rebounds and won three championships across a 15-year career.
Sonia Raman, Memphis Grizzlies
Raman had served as the head coach of the women's basketball team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2008. She guided the program to their first championships with consecutive NEWMAC (New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference) titles in 2018 and 2019. She is the winningest coach in the program's history, as per her official bio on MIT's athletic website.
She began her coaching career at Tufts University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations in 1996. After a two-year stint with her alma mater, she spent six years as the top assistant coach at Wellesley College before joining MIT.
Edniesha Curry, Portland Trail Blazers
A women's professional player from 2002 to 2009, Curry's coaching career started in 2015. She began as an assistant for the women's team at the University of Maine and after a couple of years, she transitioned to the University's men's team until 2021.
In the 2021 offseason, she joined Chauncey Billups's coaching staff in Portland.
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