Out with the old, in with the new. Enter Lindsay Gottlieb, the first women’s collegiate head coach to be recruited to an NBA team’s staff.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers going 19-63 last season, there was no other choice but to turn the coaching roster upside down. So, rather than looking within the league, the front office turned their attention to the college level and hired former University of Michigan head coach John Beilein in May. One of Beilein’s first hires: Gottlieb, who previously led UC Berkley’s Golden Bears to a Final Four appearance and seven NCAA tournaments in eight seasons.
“I am very thankful, proud and excited to be joining the Cavaliers as an assistant coach,” Gottlieb said in a statement issued by the team. “After meeting with [GM] Koby Altman, Coach Beilein and Coach Bickerstaff, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of and a team I wanted to dedicate myself to. While this move provided a unique and special chance to move directly from Cal Berkeley and women’s college basketball to the NBA, it was really about being part of building and growing something special and adding value to a team and organization that is focused on doing things in a way that I believe strongly in.”
Gottlieb will join the ranks of NBA pioneers Becky Hammon and Nancy Lieberman, who were hired by the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings, respectively.
The 41-year-old isn’t walking into the new role blind. She’s visited Golden State Warriors’ practices often, as well as LA Clippers’ training camps, according to ESPN, learning the intricacies of the NBA coaching world.
As for what her jump to the NBA means for the next generation of female coaches?
“…on a personal level, I am honored to hopefully impact young girls and women to be empowered to pursue their own visions and to be inspired to turn them into reality as well,” Gottlieb said.
And, that will leave a lasting impact far greater than any ‘X’ or ‘O’ she draws on a clipboard.