The Celtics have hired Olympic champion Kara Lawson as an assistant coach, the team announced Wednesday.
We’re excited to announce @karalawson20 is officially the first female assistant coach in our franchise’s 73-year history.
Welcome to the team :clap::shamrock: pic.twitter.com/GVsHOoQ27c
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 3, 2019
Lawson, a former WNBA star who has served as an analyst for ESPN and the Wizards, has received interest for on-court coaching opportunities in the past but didn’t act on them. ESPN reported, citing unidentified sources, that she couldn’t turn down the opportunity to coach with Brad Stevens. She will fill the role left by Micah Shrewsberry, who accepted an assistant coaching job at Purdue this summer.
Lawson, 38, played at Tennessee where she helped the Lady Volunteers make it to the Final Four three times before she was drafted fifth overall in 2003. She went on to play for the Sacramento Monarchs, Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics until the 2015 season. She also helped the U.S. secure a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The report comes a couple months after NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he hopes the league will include more female coaches — as well as female referees — in the near future.
“The goal is: Going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league,” Silver said in May. “Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”
The league has never had a female head coach, but women have been hired as assistants.
Most notably, Becky Hammon is currently an assistant for the Spurs. Kristi Toliver, who plays for the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, served as an assistant for the Wizards this past season.
Other women in coaching or player development roles around the NBA include Lindsey Harding (76ers), Natalie Nakase (Clippers), Jenny Boucek (Kings) and Karen Stack Umlauf (Bulls). Kelly Krauskopf became the first woman to hold the title of assistant general manager when she was hired in December by the Pacers.