Heading into their 50th NBA season, the Cavaliers will have a female assistant coach for the first time.
The Cavs announced Wednesday that they had hired eight-year University of California, Berkeley women’s head coach Lindsay Gottlieb as an assistant to head coach John Beilein.
“I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of and a team I wanted to dedicate myself to,” Gottlieb said in a press release. “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.
“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.”
The first women’s college coach to join an NBA team as an assistant, according to ESPN, the 41-year-old Gottlieb compiled a 179-89 record (.668) at Cal. Her win total ranks second in program history.
Gottlieb led Cal to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including the program’s first Elite Eight and Final Four appearance in 2013. Five of her players at the school earned a total of 10 All-America honors and six were drafted by the WNBA.
Counting three previous seasons as head coach at UC Santa Barbara, Gottlieb owns a 235-128 lifetime record (.647). She also served as an assistant coach at Syracuse, New Hampshire, Richmond and Cal.
“Her insight in our meetings, practices and games will hold tremendous value,” said Beilein, who like Gottlieb has no previous NBA experience. “After sitting with her, it was easy to see how she will connect quickly with our staff and our players, and we all benefit because of that connection. I’m looking forward to merging all of her years of experience and vision for the game with our current and future coaching staff.”
Gottlieb, who joins San Antonio’s Becky Harmon, Sacramento’s Nancy Lieberman and a handful of others on a growing list of female assistants working in the NBA, will assist Beilein and associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
“The more we researched and got to know Lindsay, the more we came to understand that she would be an impactful part of where we want to go as a team,” Cavs general manager Koby Altman said. “Coach Gottlieb brings a depth of basketball knowledge, leadership, perspective and approach to her craft that will fit very well with our team and staff.”
Gottlieb and husband Patrick have one son, Jordan. She played at Brown University, where she earned a degree in political science.
While Gottlieb is the first female assistant coach hired by the Cavs, she’s not the first woman to work on the basketball side. Betsy McAllister served as video coordinator for four seasons (2002-06). She later filed a civil suit against the Cavs under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It was settled before it went to court.
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