The NBA is leading the way when it comes to hiring and retaining women in coaching positions. More than any other men’s professional league they have committed to expanding opportunity. They now have eight women coaches actively working in their league. (List Below)
Not only are they creating the opportunities but they are then supporting and championing the people in those roles. This kind of leadership begins at the top, both of the league and of each organization.
Here’s Commissioner Adam Silver speaking earlier this year according to Mediate:
“The goal is: Going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league. Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”
Do not be surprised when the first woman is hired as a head coach in the league. She will be prepared, respected and successful.
That’s my prediction.
In particular much respect to the Raptors organization, their head coach, Nick Nurse and their President Masai Ujiri who has elevated women into leadership positions throughout the Raptor’s organization.
They have made a fan out of me. Go Raptors.
And of course, respect to Poppovich who really led the way and continues to do so.
Here’s an updated article from ESPN with the women coaches discussing their journeys and career trajectory.
Women Coaching in the NBA
Sacramento Kings: Lindsey Harding
Cleveland Cavaliers: Lindsey Gottlieb
Kristi Tolliver: Washington Wizards
Becky Hammon: San Antonio Spurs
Jenny Boucek: Dallas Mavericks
Niele Ivey: Memphis Grizzlies
Natalie Mitsue Nakas: Los Angeles Clippers
Karen Stack Umlauf: Chicago Bulls
Lisa Boyer: Cleveland Cavaliers–Now Associate Head Coach of the University of South Carolina Women’s Team
Nancy Lieberman: Sacramento Kings