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The Cleveland Cavaliers hired former California coach Lindsay Gottlieb as an assistant on John Beilein’s staff Wednesday, making them the seventh in the NBA to employ a female coach and the first to hire a female coach directly from the college ranks.

Gottlieb spent the past eight years coaching the Golden Bears, leading them to seven NCAA Tournament appearances. While she’s not the first female assistant coach in the NBA, she is the first to go from being a head college coach to the pro league.

“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 said in a statement released by the Cavaliers.

“The vision for the Cavs’ future is compelling and I look forward to helping make it a reality. At the same time, 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 went 179-89 at Cal and led the school to its first Final Four in 2013.

Cavaliers’ general manager Koby Altman says Gottlieb will “be a great addition” for Beilein, who is taking over a young Cleveland team. Altman says Gottlieb “brings a depth of basketball knowledge, leadership, perspective and approach to her craft that will fit very well with our team and staff alike.”

Gottlieb is the fourth hire of Cleveland Coach John Beilein, who was hired after spending 12 years at the University of Michigan where he was the school’s winningest coach.

ESPN reported that Gottlieb “is expected to have a level of staff prominence comparable to only two female coaching peers in the NBA”: Hammon and former Sacramento Kings assistant Nancy Lieberman.

Several NBA teams in recent years have added women to their coaching staffs, but have often looked to the WNBA ranks for candidates. Becky Hammon in 2014 became the first full-time, paid female assistant on an NBA coaching staff when she joined the San Antonio Spurs. She had previously played for the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars.

The New Orleans Pelicans earlier this week named Swin Cash, a four-time WNBA all-star, the team’s vice president of basketball operations and team development.

Source: Associated Press

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