After an unprecedented eight seasons of success at the helm for Cal women’s basketball, Lindsay Gottlieb is stepping down to accept an assistant coaching position with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Today I was able to realize a lifelong dream as I accepted a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA. For the better part of 15 years, I have been able to call the University of California home. The ability to be the head coach at Cal, to mentor and impact young women, has been the greatest honor and privilege,” Gottlieb said.
“Just as I have tried to empower our student-athletes to achieve their dreams, so too has this university and our administration empowered me to take this next groundbreaking step. I would like to thank Chancellor Christ, Jim Knowlton and Jenny Simon-O’Neill, as well as every single player who has given me her heart and soul. My greatest hope is that I can make you all proud as I begin my time in the NBA.”
Gottlieb, who commanded the Golden Bears to seven NCAA Tournament appearances in her eight seasons as a perennial national contender, joins a small but growing number of female trailblazers in NBA coaching positions, including current assistant coaches such as Becky Hammon (San Antonio Spurs), Lindsey Harding (Philadelphia 76ers), Karen Stack-Umlauf (Chicago Bulls), Kristi Toliver (Washington Wizards), Jenny Boucek (Dallas Mavericks) and Natalie Nakase (Los Angeles Clippers).
During her time as a head coach for the Bears, Gottlieb compiled a 179-89 (.668) overall record and 86-58 record in the Pac-12, leading Cal to the postseason seven times, including the program’s first-ever Elite Eight and Final Four appearances in 2013. That same season, she was voted the Pac-12 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award after steering the Bears to their first Pac-12 regular-season championship.
Under her tutelage, six Golden bears have been selected to the WNBA Draft since 2012-13, highlighted most recently by Kristine Anigwe’s selection to the Connecticut Sun. With Gottlieb’s guidance, Anigwe developed into a four-time All-American and All-Pac-12 selection, and the 2019 Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year, shattering program records as the all-time leading scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker. Gottlieb’s coaching pedigree also includes the mentorship of WNBA standouts such as Layshia Clarendon and Brittany Boyd.
Since her head coaching career began at UC Santa Barbara in 2008-09, Gottlieb has amassed a 235-128 overall record. Her 179 wins at Cal are the second-most by any head coach in Cal women’s basketball history.
A well-respected coach at every level of the game, Gottlieb also served on the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee from 2012-16 and has conducted and participated in numerous development camps across the WNBA, NBA and international scope.
“We are so proud of all that Lindsay has accomplished and contributed to our women’s basketball program. She has been an exceptional leader and developer of young people. This is a tremendous opportunity, and we are thankful for her impact on our program, our university and our community. We wish her the best in the NBA,” said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Knowlton.
Assistant Coach Kai Felton will serve as the program’s interim head coach. Knowlton and the university will begin a national search for Gottlieb’s replacement immediately.