Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nancy Lieberman set to become first female head coach in D-League

Posted by: Jackie A.

My good friend sent me a story today about the hiring of the first female head coach in the D-League which is an affiliate of the NBA. It’s basically the “minor leagues” for the NBA, where great players out of high school or college create a solid foundation in hopes if thriving in the big leagues. Nancy Lieberman was hired as the head coach of the new franchise, The Frisco Team which is an affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks. The Dallas Mavericks referred to the hiring of Lieberman as “a historic addition” in which feminists and sports fans from around the country can be excited and proud of.

Lieberman was the youngest player on the 1976 women’s Olympic basketball team where the U.S. won the silver medal and was also the first woman to play in a men’s professional basketball league where she played for the Springfield Fame of the USBL. Lieberman is also an active member in the Women’s Sports Foundation, an organization dedicated to advancing the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity.

I feel that hiring Lieberman as head coach is a huge step in the right direction not only for women who work in the sports industry, but for female athletes across the country. Knowing that females are making advances in the front office gives positive reinforcement that women can perhaps be hired on their skills and prior successes and not be passed over just based on their gender. Hopefully this can create a trickle-down effect that can spread throughout professional athletic organizations as well as the college level. Maybe we will start to see more female athletic directors as well as female GM’s. Wouldn’t that be something…

In addition, I would also like to point out that the NBA employed Violet Palmer, the first female referee, for 12 years before she left the league to this past May to become the coordinator of women’s basketball officials for the West Coast Conference.

I applaud the NBA for making positive steps but there is still much work to be done, i.e. the Isaiah Thomas fiasco among many other player mishaps. Let’s keep making strides and hope the media catches on so sports fans across the country can hear this fabulous story!

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