Cavaliers make landmark NBA hire with addition of Cal women's coach Lindsay Gottlieb

Yahoo Sports
California coach Lindsay Gottlieb led the Golden Bears to the 2013 NCAA Final Four. (Getty Images)
California coach Lindsay Gottlieb led the Golden Bears to the 2013 NCAA Final Four. (Getty Images)

The Cleveland Cavaliers made Lindsay Gottlieb the first women’s college coach to join an NBA staff, adding the University of California-Berkeley coach as an assistant under head coach John Beilein. The Cavs announced her hiring on Wednesday.

Cleveland hired Beilein away from the University of Michigan last month, and Gottlieb will join a staff that also includes associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and holdover assistants James Posey, Mike Longabardi, Dan Geriot and Mike Gerrity.

“I am very thankful, proud and excited to be joining the Cavaliers as an assistant coach,” Gottlieb said in a press release issued by the team. “After meeting with [Cavs general manager] Koby Altman, Coach Beilein and Coach Bickerstaff, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of and a team I wanted to dedicate myself to. 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 signed a four-year contract with the Cavs, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“The vision for the Cavs’ future is compelling and I look forward to helping make it a reality,” Gottlieb said of joining a rebuilding team. “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 led the Golden Bears to the NCAA tournament in seven of her eight years at the helm, including a 2013 Final Four appearance. The 41-year-old produced a 235-128 record in 11 seasons as a head coach for UC Santa Barbara and Cal. Her UC-Berkley program has produced six WNBA players since 2013, including recent first-round picks Layshia Clarendon, Brittany Boyd and Kristine Anigwe.

Now, Gottlieb will ply her trade as the fourth active female coach on an NBA staff, joining San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Washington Wizards assistant Kristi Toliver and Dallas Mavericks assistant Jenny Boucek. Hammon joined the Spurs after a decorated WNBA playing career, Toliver is still an active WNBA player, and Boucek previously coached in the WNBA before moving to the NBA in 2017.

“I am excited to have a coach with Lindsay’s experience as a part of the new coaching staff with the Cavaliers,” Beilein said in a statement. “Lindsay truly values and embraces player development and a culture of winning basketball habits. Her success at Cal Berkeley speaks for itself and her insight in our meetings, practices and games will hold tremendous value. After sitting with her, it was easy to see how she will connect quickly with our staff and our players, and we all benefit because of that connection. I’m looking forward to merging all of her years of experience and vision for the game with our current and future coaching staff.”

Gottlieb began her coaching career as a student assistant while still playing for Brown University in 1999, and she joined the Syracuse staff soon after graduation. She has steadily risen up the coaching ranks in her two decades on the bench.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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