Women coaching in the NBA has become a revelation in recent memory. Recently, the Spurs promoted Becky Hammon for a top job by Gregg Popovich. Plus, she also had an interview with the Bucks this spring. Now, Karen Umlauf, the longtime Bulls Senior Director of Basketball Administration has been named associate coach for NBA Summer League Bulls.
Karen Umlauf, a longtime Bulls employee and basketball lifer, has been named Bulls’ associate coach at Summer League. Well deserved, Karen! 🎉— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 3, 2018
Her story: https://t.co/r0oVTM5W6k
Umlauf has been around the game of basketball her whole life. She was a varsity basketball player at Northwestern, and she also appeared in the Wildcats’ first NCAA Tournament.
Hall of Fame general manager Jerry Krause, attributed with beginning the Bulls’ dynasty of the 90s, probably had some help from Umlauf’s brother, who was Krause’s top assistant.
Her father, sister and her younger brother all played basketball. In fact, former Wisconsin star and current Charlotte Hornet Frank Kaminsky is her nephew.
"I know it sounds trite, but I really want to learn," Umlauf told NBA.com. "I'm not saying I'm looking to be the first head coach or anything like that. I feel I haven't fully tapped into what I'm capable of yet. But I know I want to be involved with coaching and the players, learn how we are doing things and help the coaches and the players and the organization. I can bring a different perspective and feel with my front office experience that also would help in communications."
“I want to be involved with coaching and the players, learn how we are doing things and help the coaches and the players and the organization.”
Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations, John Paxon spoke highly of Umlauf and is excited to give her this opportunity.
“We probably have waited too long to give her an opportunity like this," said Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations John Paxson. "We all think the world of Karen. She's a smart basketball person and this gives her an opportunity. Gar (Forman, general manager) and I talked to her a while back and said we'd like to do something along these lines. She's a talented person, a longtime Chicago Bull.”
The cool thing is Krause actually asked Umlauf if she wanted to work for him, and 34 years later she’ll continue to pursue her dream.
"I'm super excited," Umlauf says. "I'm looking forward to helping."