The Cleveland Cavaliers made history June 12 when they announced the hiring of Lindsay Gottlieb, who was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California in 2016, as an assistant coach to new head coach John Beilein.
Gottlieb, 41, is the first women’s collegiate head coach recruited to an NBA staff. She joins the Cavs after serving eight years as head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of California, Berkeley, where she led the Golden Bears to a combined 179-89 (.668) record (86-58, .597 in Pac-12) after taking the helm in 2011-12.
“Lindsay Gottlieb will be a great addition to coach Beilein’s and coach (J.B.) Bickerstaff’s group,” Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman said in a news release. “She has an extensive track record of success and growth with her teams and players and has also been a strong culture-driver as a core part of that.
“The more we researched and got to know Lindsay, the more we came to understand that she would be an impactful part of where we want to go as a team. Coach Gottlieb brings a depth of basketball knowledge, leadership, perspective and approach to her craft that will fit very well with our team and staff alike. We’re fortunate that she was willing to leave her role as head coach at such a solid and successful program at Cal.”
Gottlieb said in the news release, “I am very thankful, proud and excited to be joining the Cavaliers as an assistant coach. After meeting with Koby Altman, coach Beilein and coach Bickerstaff, I knew this was an organization I wanted to be a part of and a team I wanted to dedicate myself to.
“While this move provided a unique and special chance to move directly from Cal Berkeley and women’s college basketball to the NBA, it was really about being part of building and growing something special and adding value to a team and organization that is focused on doing things in a way that I believe strongly in.
“The vision for the Cavs’ future is compelling and I look forward to helping make it a reality. At the same time, on a personal level, I am honored to hopefully impact young girls and women to be empowered to pursue their own visions and to be inspired to turn them into reality as well.
“I also want to thank Cal for what has been an amazing job, and really my home and family, for the better part of 15 years. It is very difficult to say goodbye. The university leadership, the athletic department, my fellow coaches, staff and, most of all, our players have been wonderful and inspiring to work with. The program is in great shape and I have no doubt it will continue to have a high level of success.”
Gottlieb’s 179 wins are the second most by any head coach in Cal women’s basketball history. During her tenure, Gottlieb led Cal to seven overall NCAA tournament appearances (2012-15, 2017-19), including the program’s first Elite Eight and Final Four appearances in 2013 – becoming just the seventh NCAA women’s coach since 1990 to reach the Final Four within the first two seasons of leading a program.
That same year, she was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year by media and was a Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist, while also guiding the Golden Bears to their first Pac-12 regular-season championship.
Gottlieb coached five Cal players to 10 total All-America seasons and saw six of her players become WNBA draft selections. She holds 11 overall years of Division I head coaching experience, posting a 235-128 (.647) overall record with Cal and UC Santa Barbara (2008-11), where she led the Gauchos to two Big West Championships (2009, 2011) and was named Big West coach of the year in 2009.
“I am excited to have a coach with Lindsay’s experience as a part of the new coaching staff with the Cavaliers,” Beilein said. “Lindsay truly values and embraces player development and a culture of winning basketball habits. Her success at Cal Berkeley speaks for itself and her insight in our meetings, practices and games will hold tremendous value.
“After sitting with her, it was easy to see how she will connect quickly with our staff and our players, and we all benefit because of that connection. I’m looking forward to merging all of her years of experience and vision for the game with our current and future coaching staff.”
Prior to her experience as a head coach, Gottlieb held numerous assistant coaching positions with Syracuse (1999-2001), New Hampshire (2001-02), Richmond (2002-05) and Cal (2005-07), while also being promoted to associate head coach at Cal in 2007-08. The Scarsdale, N.Y., native played at Brown University, where she graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
During her senior year, she was both a player and student assistant coach, and received the Team Heart and Soul Award in 1999. While coaching at Syracuse, she earned her Master’s degree in philosophy of education.
Gottlieb and her husband, Patrick, have one son, Jordan.