There will come a day this isn’t news.
It isn’t today.
The Iowa Energy and its NBA affiliate, the Memphis Grizzlies, today jointly announced Nicki Gross as an assistant coach for the Energy. With her promotion Gross becomes the only female assistant coach in the NBA D-League.
Gross enters her second season with the Iowa Energy. Gross spent the 2014-2015 season with the Energy as video coordinator after previously serving as the assistant video coordinator for the Bakersfield Jam in 2013-2014.
“I am very excited to promote Nicki within our staff as she becomes the only female assistant coach in the NBA D-League,” said Energy Head Coach Bob Donewald. “Nicki joined our franchise last season as video coordinator and did an outstanding job in helping the team prepare for each game. She is a tireless worker who has a bright future in basketball.”
Gross graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Seton Hall University in 2011 where she was a member of the Women’s Soccer team for all four years. She then went on to serve as a graduate manager for the Men’s Basketball team at Monmouth University for the 2012-2013 season while pursuing her MBA. Gross has served as an intern for the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas each year since 2013. She has also worked the Adidas Nations camp in Long Beach, Calif. in 2014 and will again this August.
This is how it should work. All aspiring coaches should have an opportunity to work their way up the ladder regardless of gender.
Barriers are falling in basketball. Lisa Boyer was a part-time assistant for the Cavaliers in 2001-02. The Spurs hired Becky Hammon as an assistant last year, and the Kings are adding Nancy Lieberman to their staff. Lieberman previously worked as a D-League head coach. Stephanie Ready was an assistant in that league. Hammon could eventually become a head coach.
This is good progress.
It’ll be even better when I can’t feasibly name every female coach in NBA/D-League history.