Closing The Gap

Kelly Krauskopf becomes the first woman assistant general manager in the NBA

Fever President and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf honors Tamika Catchings during her retiremnt ceremony after the game against the Dallas Wings at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on September 18, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 
Ron Hoskins | National Basketball Association | Getty Images
Fever President and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf honors Tamika Catchings during her retiremnt ceremony after the game against the Dallas Wings at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on September 18, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

The Indiana Pacers announced Monday that former WNBA executive Kelly Krauskopf will become the team's assistant general manager, according to ESPN.

Krauskopf will be the first woman in NBA history to hold this esteemed position.

Long a leader in sports, Krauskopf became the WNBA's first director of operations in 1996. She went on to serve as president and general manager of the WNBA's Indiana Fever for 17 years. In this role, according to Sports Illustrated, she led the team to 12 playoff appearances, three conference titles and a WNBA championship in 2012. In 2017, Krauskopf left the Fever to oversee the Pacers' esports team in the NBA2K League.

"As the architect of one of the WNBA's most successful franchises, Kelly is a true pioneer in our sport," ESPN reports Pacers' owner Herb Simon saying in a statement. "I've worked with Kelly over the past two decades, so I know her tremendous basketball mind, strong work ethic and proven leadership skills will continue to be of great benefit to our organization."

In her new assistant general manager role, Krauskopf will work alongside the team's basketball operations staff, which includes president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard, general manager Chad Buchanan and assistant GM Peter Dinwiddie.

She tells ESPN, "I have admired the work that Kevin and his staff have put forth so far and I am honored to be a part of an elite and historical franchise."

Krauskopf is accompanied by a rising number of other executive women in the NBA, including Orlando Magic's Director of Player Development and Quality Control Becky Bonner, Oklahoma City Thunder's Senior Director of Information Management and Team Counsel Amanda Green and Toronto Raptors Vice President of Basketball Operations Teresa Resch.

As a longtime executive in professional sports, Krauskopf tells ESPN that her past professional experiences have shown her "that building winning teams and elite level culture is not based on gender." Instead, she says, "it is based on people and processes."

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