WS alum turns NBA assistant

Corbin Lathrop, Sports Editor

Kara Lawson has accumulated quite an impressive resume since departing WS in 1999. She was a two-time All-American at the University of Tennessee under legendary coach Pat Summitt, amassed a successful 13-year WNBA career, won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and became the primary television game analyst for the Washington Wizards in 2017. Now Lawson is taking on a new challenge as she joins the ranks of females earning coaching jobs in the NBA.

On June 27th, the Boston Celtics announced that Lawson would be joining their staff as an assistant coach. Lawson is the first female coach in Celtics’s history, but is just one of a growing number of female assistants in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers were the first to break the barrier by hiring Lisa Boyer in 2001; however, it wasn’t until recently when the trend really caught on. Currently, there are 11 female coaches in the NBA, and there have been 12 since 2014. Some attribute the recent influx of female assistants to the number of young NBA executives holding front office positions who recognize the basketball knowledge and experience women such as Lawson bring to the table.

That knowledge and experience stems all the way back to high school for Lawson, where she led the Spartans to state championships in 1997 and 1999.

“As a player Kara always wanted to know the purpose of each drill we did (which she most all the time already knew). She wanted to understand why we did certain things a certain way and the purpose behind them. She basically was a coach on the court.  She had the respect of the rest of the team because of her skills and understanding of the team philosophy,” said girls varsity basketball head coach William Gibson, who coached Lawson back in high school.

Lawson brings her sharp basketball mind to the Boston Celtics, who are off to a hot start this season, and are currently tied for second in the Eastern Conference as of December 5th. Behind their newfound-star Kemba Walker, a young core of talent, and the leadership of Lawson and the rest of the coaching staff; the Celtics hope to make noise in the Eastern Conference for the rest of this season and beyond.