Becky Hammon competed for Russia in the 2012 Olympics due to living there part time as a professional. Credit: Getty Images
The reigning NBA champion Spurs named longtime WNBA star Becky Hammon as the first full-time female assistant coach in league history on Tuesday.
Hammon, 37, is a six-time WNBA All-Star who has spent the last eight seasons with the San Antonio Stars. She announced she would retire at season's end.
"In some ways it is trailblazing, but there have been so many other women that are doing really, really great things and I am just kind of following in their path," Hammon said.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement: "I'm confident that her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit for the Spurs."
There have been women head coaches in the NBA Development and summer leagues, and Lisa Boyer was an unpaid part-time member of the Cavaliers' coaching staff during the 2001-02 NBA season under John Lucas, according to the Spurs. Former UCLA point guard Natalie Nakase was named to the position of assistant video coordinator with the Clippers earlier this offseason and actually served as an assistant on the bench with the team during NBA Summer League. She won't be on the bench when the regular season resumes, however.
"I'm just thrilled for the opportunity to coach these unbelievable athletes," Hammon said.
Named one of the WNBA's top-15 players of all-time in July of 2011, Hammon ranks seventh in WNBA history in points (5,809), fourth in assists (1,687) and sixth in games played (445).
Spurs forward Austin Daye weighed in on the hiring on Twitter, congratulating Hammon.