DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Energy have hired the only current female assistant coach in the NBA D-League.
Nicki Gross has been promoted to assistant coach from her video coordinator position, according to a team press release. She will be entering her second season with the organization after serving as the assistant video coordinator for the Bakersfield Jam in 2013-14.
“I am very excited to promote Nicki within our staff as she becomes the only female assistant coach in the NBA D-League,” said Energy Head Coach Bob Donewald. “Nicki joined our franchise last season as video coordinator and did an outstanding job in helping the team prepare for each game. She is a tireless worker who has a bright future in basketball.”
The NBA D-League has featured woman coaches before. Stephanie Ready was an assistant for Greenville Groove in 2001, and Nancy Lieberman has served as a coach and front-office executive in the past.
Gross’ promotion coincides with two other women who have also recently made significant leaps in professional sports.
Becky Hammon became the NBA’s first female assistant coach last season with the San Antonio Spurs. She also coached the organization’s summer league team to a championship earlier this month in Las Vegas.
Jen Welter was also added to the Arizona Cardinals’ coaching staff this week as an intern. She will coach the team’s inside linebackers throughout training camp and the preseason. She is believed to be first female to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL.