Nancy Lieberman has been a collegiate National Champion, an All-American, Olympian, the first woman to play in a men’s professional league, WNBA player, Hall-of-Famer, WNBA head coach, and the first female coach of a men’s team under the NBA umbrella. Today, the team’s first head coach has accepted a new position as the Legends’ Assistant General Manager.
Lieberman led the Legends to a playoff berth in their inaugural season last year – becoming only the third coach in the NBA or NBA D-League to lead an expansion team to the play-offs. Now, she will have an opportunity to contribute to even more success from the front office.
“Nancy took on a tremendous challenge in becoming our head coach,” Legends owner Donnie Nelson commented. “And she embraced that challenge like she has throughout her life. She was everything I could have hoped for as a head coach.”
Lieberman’s path from the coaching bench to the front office mirrors Nelson’s successful move of the same nature in 2001. After nine seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA, Nelson moved to the Dallas Mavericks’ front office, where he is now President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the NBA champions.
“I have no doubt that Nancy will be successful in her new capacity,” Nelson added. “Her experience as a coach will only make her a stronger asset in the front office.”
Lieberman’s 31 years in professional basketball have been filled with firsts, including her role as the first woman coach of a professional men’s team in the NBA or NBA D-League. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.
“Coaching with the Legends has been a dream,” Lieberman commented. “The players did a tremendous job throughout the season. Their respect for the coaching staff, work ethic, and team-first attitude was everything I wanted to see in a team. That being said, I have always been very intrigued with management at the NBA level. The opportunity to work with Donnie in this capacity is too great an opportunity to pass up. I am looking forward to continuing to build the Legends organization and strengthening its reputation as the standard-bearer in the NBA D-League.”
The move not only moves Lieberman into management with a team under the NBA umbrella, but also will allow her to spend more time with her son as he finishes high school.
“My family is tremendously important to me,” Lieberman added. “The challenge of balancing my family life with my professional aspirations has long been one that I have embraced. I truly believe that every woman can attain both their personal and professional goals. My position as Assistant General Manager allows me to balance my schedule while maintaining my professional goals. I look forward to working with Donnie, Del, and Spud as we move towards our goal of winning an NBA D-League championship.”
Lieberman joins basketball legends Del Harris (1995 NBA Coach of the Year) and Spud Webb (1986 NBA Slam Dunk Champion) in the Legends front office. Lieberman, Harris, and Webb will play an integral role in a national search for her replacement as Legends’ head coach.
“Nancy has left big shoes to fill on the sidelines,” Nelson concluded. “She will have a lot of valuable insight for the next head coach. I’m excited as our team only gets stronger with Nancy taking on this new responsibility.”