Sacramento Kings plan to hire Nancy Lieberman as an assistant coach
There doesn’t appear to be any stopping the women’s movement in professional sports.
The Sacramento Kings are expected to announce the hiring of Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, according to the Sacramento Bee. She’ll be joining the San Antonio Spurs’ Becky Hammon as the second full-time female assistant coach in NBA history.
“Definitely I’m going to offer her a job,” Kings Vice President Vlade Divac said of Lieberman on Thursday. "[Sacramento Coach] George [Karl] and I talked about bringing her back after she helped us at summer league. She was terrific. She brings a different dimension. I think is a nice opportunity for her.”
Lieberman, 57, was the first woman to coach an NBA Development League team when she led the Texas Legends, an affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, from 2009-11. She ultimately became the team’s assistant general manager.
Lieberman was already one of the most highly decorated and experienced women’s basketball players by the time the WNBA came into existence in 1997.
As a member of the women’s national basketball team, Lieberman won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She also helped the U.S. win a gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games in Mexico.
Additionally, Lieberman played for the Women’s Basketball League, United States Basketball League before joining the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for one season. The next year she became the general manager and coach of the Detroit Shock, a position she held for three seasons. She briefly came out of retirement in 2008 to play with the Shock again at age 50.
The Kings are following the Spurs’ model in hiring Lieberman following San Antonio’s success with Hammon. Last season, Hammon became the first full-time coach in NBA history before guiding the Spurs to a summer league championship last week.
But the NBA isn’t the only professional sports league adding women to its ranks.
Earlier this week, the Arizona Cardinals announced that Jen Welter would join the team’s coaching staff for training camp and the preseason as a coaching intern. The NFL itself also hired Sarah Thomas for the 2015, making her the first full-time game official in league history.
Follow Matt Wilhalme on Twitter @mattwilhalme
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