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Silver would be ‘hugely disappointed’ if NBA doesn’t have first female head coach in five years

2022 NBA Finals - NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Press Conference

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 02: NBA commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media prior to Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics at Chase Center on June 02, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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Adam Silver thinks it’s time.

Multiple NBA teams have interviewed women to be their head coach, but as of yet no woman has been given the job and become the first female head coach of a major men’s American sports franchise. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said recently on the NCAA’s official podcast it’s time, and he hopes it will come in the next five years (hat tip Real GM).

“I would be hugely disappointed if, certainly, in five years we haven’t seen our first female head coach in the NBA...

“I’ve said this before, as much as professional sports has led, and the WNBA and NBA have led in certain areas, we’re a bit behind in this area,” Silver said. “We should have more women head coaches. We should have a female head coach right now. We should have more women referees. It’s something we’re working very hard on right now.”


There are currently five female assistant coaches in the NBA: Teresa Weatherspoon (Pelicans), Kristi Toliver (Mavericks), Jenny Boucek (Pacers), Lindsey Harding (Kings) and Sonia Raman (Grizzlies).

The name most associated with getting an NBA head coaching job first — and the woman most interviewed for those jobs — is long-time Spurs assistant Becky Hammon. Some around the league were unsure if she was the right fit as a head coach, but she returned to her roots in the WNBA this season and led the Las Vegas Aces to the title.

However, the name that has popped up most in conversations with league sources over the years is Dawn Staley, coach of the current defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks as well as head coach of USA Basketball’s gold medal winning women’s team (plus she won three golds as a player). Some executives believe she has not only the basketball acumen to do the job, but also the presence and personality to command an NBA locker room. Whether she would leave to take the job is another question.

Silver doesn’t say things by mistake, he threw this out in the universe as a heads-up to team officials. Silver wants to see this barrier broken. Whether a team will make that move in the next five years remains to be seen.