SAN ANTONIO (CBS Houston/AP) — The San Antonio Spurs made history Tuesday, hiring the league’s first-ever full-time female assistant coach.
Becky Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star who has spent the last eight seasons with the San Antonio Stars, has been hired as the new assistant coach for the defending NBA champions.
“I very much look forward to the addition of Becky Hammon to our staff,” Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement. “Having observed her working with our team this past season, I’m confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs.
Hammon is the Stars’ all-time leader in assists, points per game, and 3-pointers made. The 37-year-old Hammon is ranks seventh in WNBA history in total points (5,756), second in three-point field goals made (817), fourth in assists (1,663), sixth in games played (440) and first in free-throw percentage (89.6 percent, minimum 300 attempts).
Hammon revealed last month that her 16th season in the WNBA would be her last.
“I’ve been mulling the decision over the past three or four months,” Hammon told The Associated Press last month. “I just decided that it’s the right time, the right moment and the right place. I wanted to let some things die down and give myself to mid-July to see where my body’s at. I knew the time was right now.”
Hammon joins South Carolina assistant Lisa Boyer, who served on John Lucas’s staff in Cleveland in 2001-02, as women to coach in the NBA. Boyer was a volunteer assistant coach for the Cavaliers.
She has been all over the world playing basketball in Russia, Italy, Israel and a few other countries in the winter.
The South Dakota native suited up for Russia in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and counts winning a bronze medal at the Beijing Games as one of her career highlights.
“Becky Hammon has made a lasting mark on the San Antonio Stars and the WNBA,” Stars general manager and head coach Dan Hughes said in a release. “She has worked tirelessly to become the best she could be on and off the floor. She has inspired in a wonderful way. The beauty of her game has been an amazing thing to have had a front row seat for.”
The former Colorado State star signed with the New York Liberty after going unpicked in the 1999 WNBA Draft. She helped guide New York to six playoff appearances, and with the Stars reached the finals only to fall to Detroit in 2008.
“Becky Hammon epitomizes what the WNBA is all about: she has truly shown the world what is possible,” WNBA president Laurel J. Richie said in a statement. “Having gone undrafted in 1999, Becky was determined to make her dream of becoming a professional athlete come true. Hard work and talent got her noticed and earned her a roster spot, and she never looked back. In addition to all her accomplishments, Becky’s feisty leadership and no-look passes have made her a fan favorite. We thank Becky for all her contributions to the growth of this wonderful game and we wish her all the best on her future endeavors.”
Hammon is averaging 8.1 points this season for the Stars, who are in third place in the Western Conference.
Terms of Hammon’s contract with the Spurs were not announced.