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Lindsay Gottlieb Joins Cleveland Cavaliers as Assistant Coach

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Gottlieb is the most prominent female coach to join the NBA, ESPN reports

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Semifinals
Lindsay Gottlieb, head coach of the California Golden Bears, is expected to join the Cleveland Cavaliers as an assistant coach
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Lindsay Gottlieb, the head coach of the California Golden Bears women’s basketball team, is joining the Cleveland Cavaliers as an assistant coach, NBA league sources told ESPN Wednesday. Gottlieb is expected to join John Beilein’s staff on a four-year contract.

“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. I’m looking forward to merging all of her years of experience and vision for the game with our current and future coaching staff,” Cavaliers Head Coach John Beilein said as a part of the team’s announcement from the Cleveland Clinic Courts.

“The more we researched and got to know Lindsay, the more we came to understand that she would be an impactful part of where we want to go as a team,” Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman added. “Coach Gottlieb brings a depth of basketball knowledge, leadership, perspective and approach to her craft that will fit very well with our team and staff alike. We’re fortunate that she was willing to leave her role as Head Coach at such a solid and successful program at Cal.”

While Gottlieb will not be the first female coach to join the NBA, she may be the most prominent. Under her leadership, the California Golden Bears have appeared in the NCAA tournament in seven of the eight last years — including a Final Four appearance in 2013, a season that concluded with five Golden Bears selected in the WNBA draft — and been a nearly permanent fixture in top-25 national rankings. Her 179-89 record over eight seasons is the second-most by any head coach in the history of the California women’s basketball program.

“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 said in a prepared statement. “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.”

Cal Athletics has confirmed Kai Felton, previously an assistant coach, is the new interim head coach of the women’s basketball program. The university says it has already begun a national search for Gottlieb’s replacement.