The Cleveland Cavaliers hired Lindsay Gottlieb, the women’s basketball coach at the University of California, to be an assistant to John Beilein.
The decision by Beilein, the former Michigan coach who was hired by the Cavaliers last month, is historic. Gottlieb is the first women’s college head coach to be recruited to an NBA team’s staff. She is the fourth person to join Beilein and is expected to sign a four-year contract.
Gottlieb is the latest woman to be part of an NBA staff, joining Lindsey Harding (Philadelphia 76ers), Kristi Toliver (Washington Wizards), Jenny Boucek (Dallas Mavericks), Natalie Nakase (Clippers), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Spurs) and Karen Stack Umlauf (Chicago Bulls).
“I am very thankful, proud and excited to be joining the Cavaliers. … 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 statement. “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 led the Golden Bears to a 179-89 (.668) record since taking over in 2011. Gottlieb coached Cal to seven NCAA tournament appearances, including the program’s first Final Four in 2013. She was the head coach at UC Santa Barbara from 2008-11. Her overall record is 235-128.
“I’m so proud of her, I’m so happy for her. She’s the reason why I am here,” said Sparks forward Ashley Walker, who played at Cal when Gottlieb was an assistant for the Golden Bears. “She’s a great coach. She’s a great motivator. The guys are lucky to have her. I’m sad to see her go, [but] it speaks a lot for our program. What she’s done and how far she’s taken [Cal’s] women’s team is amazing.”
Connecticut Suns players Layshia Clarendon and Kristine Anigwe, who played for Gottlieb, offered congratulatory sentiments via social media.
LETS GOOOOOOO!!!!!! Wow, wow, wow 👏🏽👊🏽 one day women being hired in the NBA won’t be news worthy, it’ll be just another cool person who got hired for an open position. BUT TODAY ITS HISTORICALLY NEWS WORTHY!! This is why we are fighting this fight. Congrats! @CalCoachG https://t.co/qgaVDLKbap— Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) June 12, 2019
“She’s done a good job at Cal. She deserves an opportunity to continue to move up in coaching,” Sparks coach Derek Fisher said. “I don’t think an opportunity should be gender specific. She deserves an opportunity to coach at any level just like a man does. That’s the way I see it.”