NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs have hired Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, making her the second female to join a regular season coaching staff.
The 37-year-old Hammon becomes the first female coach since Lisa Boyer helped coach the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2001-02.
Boyer worked part time while Hammon has been brought on as a full-time employee starting next season.
“This is a great organisation,” Hammon said on Tuesday.
“I am also a little overwhelmed right now to be perfectly honest. As great as this opportunity is, it is also incredibly humbling.”
Hammon plays for the San Antonio Stars in the Women’s National Basketball Association but has announced she will retire at the end of the season.
Hammon has spent 16 years in the WNBA and ranks seventh in history in points (5809), fourth in assists (1687) and sixth in games (445).
“I look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. “I am confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.”
Asked about the significance of becoming just the second female coach in league history, Hammon said, “the bigger point is that I am getting hired because I am capable. I am just thrilled for the opportunity to coach these unbelievable athletes.”
Hammon, who plays point guard, said she has always wanted to move into coaching when she ended her playing career.
“There has been a tremendous amount of time in film sessions and game planning so I am comfortable with my basketball IQ. Coaching just comes naturally to me. This is obviously a huge opportunity,” she said.
Hammon, who is a six-time WNBA all-star, has spent the last eight seasons with the Stars after going undrafted in the 1999 draft and spending the first eight years of her career with the New York Liberty.
She is the Stars’ record leader in assists (1112) and three-point field goals made (493), while ranking second in franchise history in points (3442) and games (218).
In her WNBA career, Hammon has averages of 13.1 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds.